Kuala Lumpur- About a dozen embassies in the Malaysian capital this week have received packages, each containing a threatening note, a compact disc and some suspicious substance in the form of liquid, powder and tablets. The police believe that the mysterious packages are the work of pranksters who are out to exploit the climate of uncertainty following the suicide bombings in Bali on Oct 1.
The powder scare in the diplomatic community began on Oct 4 when Japanese, Thai, German, Canadian, Singaporean and Philippine missions received suspicious packages by mail. Each of the packages contain a note that read: "You've been infected with a biochemical weapon. Curse you for what you have done to the Muslim ummah."
The next day, similar packages were sent to the US, Russia and France embassies and the British and Australian high commissions at around . Police, bomb disposal squads and hazardous material experts were again rushed to the five embassies.
City Police chief, Deputy Commander Mustafa Abdullah, said initial checks showed that the liquid found in some of the envelopes was some form of coolant. He added that the police were waiting for analysis reports to confirm if the materials found in the envelopes were harmful or harmless.
Mr Mustafa said: "We believe the packages were sent by the same source. However, we are still investigating whether it was just one person, or a group of pranksters."
Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said on Oct 5 that the foreign missions should not be overly concerned over the parcel scare as the government would take whatever precautionary measures needed to protect their safety.
"Even at the height of the Sept 11 attacks, diplomats did not experience any backlash nor feel fearful or unsafe. Although Malaysiais a safe country, we are always vigilant and on the lookout for individuals or parties that can harm and threaten the country's security and peace. That is why militant movements do not operate here," Mr Syed Hamid said.
* Pranksters sent packages (New Straits Times, Oct 6)
* Five more missions get parcel (The Star, Oct 5)
* M'sia safe for foreign missions, says Syed Hamid (Bernama, Oct 5)