Selangor police chief, Comm Datuk Hussein Omar Khan, announced the arrest of two men following an investigation into stolen catalytic converters in Petaling Jaya.
The first suspect was apprehended in Petaling Jaya, and after questioning, the second suspect was caught in Jalan Ipoh on Sunday.
During a press conference at the Selangor police contingent headquarters, Comm Hussein revealed that both suspects are between 30 and 40 years old. He stated that the stolen catalytic converters were believed to have been sold to other syndicates, with each converter fetching prices ranging from RM300 to RM600.
The chief mentioned that the valuable metals, including platinum and palladium, found inside the converters would likely be scrapped and sold. The first suspect, who worked at a car parts shop, possessed the skill to remove converters from cars in under 16 minutes.
The police discovered 45 suspected stolen converters in possession of the second suspect. Comm Hussein explained that although cars can function without converters, victims would notice a significant change in noise. He also noted that both suspects had no prior criminal records.
The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) acknowledged the potential involvement of international syndicates in the recent rise of catalytic converter thefts. Local syndicates have been engaging in these thefts and selling the stolen converters in international markets like the United States and Japan.
The arrests of the two main suspects are expected to hinder the syndicate’s ability to sell these components abroad. The police are currently investigating the syndicate’s methods of international sales and pursuing further leads to apprehend those involved.
Catalytic converters hold significant value not only in the local market, where they can be sold for RM300 to RM600 per unit, but also in the international market. The precious metals contained in these converters, such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum, have values ranging from RM130 to RM350 per gram. These metals are sought after in industries such as electronics, dentistry, and medical fields for various applications, including the production of bone plates.
Due to the demand for these components in foreign markets, thieves target catalytic converters to quickly acquire cash. Estimated prices in foreign markets range from RM500 to RM2,500 per unit.
The police recorded 46 theft cases in 2021, 34 cases in 2022, and 16 cases in the first half of this year until June 17. The syndicate, believed to have operated for about a year, focuses on vehicles parked alongside roads and in secluded areas.
The syndicate members possess expertise in swiftly cutting and removing valuable exhaust components, likely due to their experience in the vehicle spare parts industry.