MALACCA: The catalytic converters of even the old-faithful Proton Wira have been a major target of thieves here, as the automobile part is in high demand globally, say Malacca police.
They said the Wira and Naza RIA were among the favourite models of car part thieves in the state.
Catalytic converters are partially made of rare metals, including palladium, rhodium and platinum, which makes them attractive to thieves in recent months due to the lucrative price of white gold.
Palladium is one of the metal components used in making white gold and dental fillings, as well as ceramic capacitors, which regulate the flow of electricity in smartphones and laptops.
Even Malacca deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Sharul Lalli Masduki admitted that this was the first time he witnessed such mass theft of catalytic converters after his team managed to cripple a gang specialising in such theft.
SAC Sharul Lalli said seven individuals, aged from 19 to 42, were detained in a series of raids from Nov 18 to Nov 25.
"We have confiscated 65 of these catalytic converters," he said during a press conference at Malacca police headquarters in Bukit Beruang here today.
SAC Sharul Lalli said of the 65 units, 30 were found to be stolen, while investigations are ongoing to determine where the gang had obtained the rest.
He said the modus operandi of the gang was to steal the catalytic converters and sell it to a 39-year-old middleman.
SAC Sharul Lalli said the gang only takes 10 minutes to steal the car part.
"It is mostly used for making white gold," he said, adding that the stolen items were sold outside the country.
He said that all seven suspects had been remanded to assist in the investigation under Section 379 (A) of the Penal Code.