KUALA LUMPUR, (AFP) -At least 11 foreign embassies in the Malaysian capital have been sent suspicious packages containing threatening letters linked to the treatment of Muslims, police said.
The packages — which also contained compact discs and an unidentified liquid — were aimed at taking advantage of the security situation after the bomb attacks on the Indonesian island of Bali, police said.
Five missions — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Australia — received packages on Wednesday bringing the number of missions hit by the scare to at least 11, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mustafa Abdullah told AFP.
"You have been infected with a biochemical weapon. Curse you for what you have done to the Muslim ummah," the note in each letter said, according to the police chief.
Abdullah said police believed the letters were a hoax and the substances were harmless. He accused those responsible of playing on heightened fears created by the weekend attacks in Bali which left 19 dead.
The bombing has been blamed on the Southeast Asian Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is accused of links to the Al-Qaeda network, and Indonesian police are hunting two Malaysian leaders of JI.
The Australian and British high commissions and the United States and French embassies told AFP suspicious packages had arrived on Wednesday morning.
Mustafa said the Russian embassy had also received a package.
"The packages contained a cd-rom together with a greenish liquid, similar to water coolant. We have sent the contents for analysis," Mustafa said.
A French embassy official said their security officers had examined an express mail package, which contained a compact disc wrapped in yellow plastic and had a postmark from the city of Kota Baru in northern Kelantan state.
The police and the hazardous materials unit were called.
US embassy officials also confirmed they received a "suspicious package" but they declined to give details.
Japan, Germany, Thailand, Canada, the Philippines, and Singapore all received parcels on Tuesday by express mail.
The Japanese embassy, the first to receive a package, was evacuated for several hours before police gave the all-clear.
Police have said the packages, delivered by express mail, appeared to originate from the central state of Selangor which surrounds Kuala Lumpur, as well as from Kelantan and northern Terengganu.
Diplomats said most packages contained a compact disc and liquid.
"It contained a broken CD and it was in a transparent envelope and surrounded by a small amount of liquid," said Chأ© van Haastrecht, second secretary at the Canadian High Commission.
The police chief for the main embassy district, Kamal Pasha Jamal, said security had been stepped up following the incidents.
"Security at the embassies has been beefed up, we have deployed more police officers to enhance patrols in the areas," he said.
Most diplomats were tight-lipped about security measures Wednesday, but the Canadian, Singapore, French, Japanese, Thai, Australian, Philippine and British missions said they were open for business.
A Philippines embassy official said security had been tightened.