MELAKA:The Melaka police have crippled a syndicate that steals catalytic converters to be sold for the production of white gold, says Deputy Melaka Police chief Datuk Shahrul Lailli Masduki.

He said the syndicate known as the ‘White Gold’ gang comprising seven local men, which has been active since September, was busted via ‘Op Lejang’ operation conducted by the police from Nov 18-25.

“All the men, comprising the buyer and six thieves, aged 19 to 42, were arrested, and 65 catalytic converters were seized in a series of raids conducted around Tanjung Minyak, Malim and Durian Tunggal,” he said during a press conference at the Melaka Contingent Police Headquarters here, yesterday.

Shahrul Lailli said the criminals targetted continental vehicles and the stolen converters would be sold to the overseas market at prices between RM600 to RM1,600, while the process to produce the white gold would also be carried out abroad.

“Investigations found that 30 out of 65 catalytic converters seized were from around the state, particularly the Melaka Tengah district, while the rest are still under investigation.

“The gang’s modus operandi is to target cars parked outside houses or workshops, with the process of removing of the converter from the vehicle only taking between five to 10 minutes,” he said, adding that the total amount of losses was still being investigated.

The case is being investigated under Section 379A(1) of the Penal Code and all suspects are under remand until tomorrow.