FameEX Hot Topics | Illegal Crypto Mining Operation Dismantled in Malaysia: Sarawak Police and Energy Plant Initiate Crackdown
A clandestine cryptocurrency mining operation, suspected of electricity theft, was recently uncovered in a Marina Square shophouse in Miri, Malaysia. The operation was brought to light with the help of a tip-off from a member of the public, leading representatives from the Sarawak police and Sarawak Energy plant to take action. Authorities successfully dismantled an alleged unauthorized crypto mining camp that had been set up in Miri, Sarawak. During the operation, approximately 34 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners, along with their associated connections, were seized by the authorities.
Sarawak Energy stated that all equipment used in the mining operation, including the direct tapping cables and servers, were confiscated. A police report has been lodged, and an investigation is currently underway to gather further evidence and insights into the illegal operation. It is reported that compared to other regions worldwide, electricity rates in Malaysia are relatively low, which has led to a surge in electricity theft incidents over the past few years. This particular case of unauthorized crypto mining is estimated to have cost the energy plant approximately RM6,000 per month ($1,317).
Sarawak Energy emphasized that electricity theft is a serious offense under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, carrying a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years' imprisonment if found guilty. In a related crackdown, Malaysian officials also exposed three additional power theft schemes linked to crypto mines in Senadin. Law enforcement seized around 137 ASIC devices from these sites, and investigations are ongoing. Malaysia has witnessed previous instances of electricity theft for cryptocurrency mining. In February 2021, seven individuals were apprehended for stealing $2.15 million worth of electricity to mine Bitcoin. Additionally, in July 2021, officials confiscated over $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin mining equipment for illegal operation, leading to their demolition.
In the same month, authorities in Miri City, Sarawak, seized 1,069 rigs from miners accused of stealing electricity for their mining operations. Sarawak Energy has emphasized its commitment to combating such thefts by deploying various tools and meter inspection teams to detect illegal activities, including underground direct tapping and tampered meters. The energy company also relies on public tips and encourages locals to report any suspicious activity to the Sarawak Energy customer care center. This collaboration between the public and authorities plays a crucial role in uncovering and putting an end to illicit cryptocurrency mining operations that engage in electricity theft.
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