In a crackdown against electricity theft, Malaysia seizes 1,720 bitcoin mining machines.
Following public complaints, Malaysian police shut down a bitcoin mining company and seized 1,720 bitcoin mining machines in a significant electricity theft investigation. "Police inspected 75 premises throughout the district, and 30 of them were discovered to be illegally mining bitcoin activities and stealing electricity."
Malaysian police have clamped down on a significant electricity theft case involving bitcoin mining, according to local media. At a press conference held Thursday at the Manjung district police headquarters, Perak police chief Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the crackdown was carried out in response to public complaints.
The Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and the Sitiawan Fire and Rescue Station were involved in the operation, the police chief explained:
"This operation is the biggest success with TNB this year."
The theft of electricity, he said, was worth roughly RM2 million ($478,870) according to the TNB.
"Police inspected 75 premises throughout the area, and 30 of them were found to be illegally mining bitcoin activities and stealing electricity," the police chief stated, adding:
"We were able to seize 1,720 bitcoin mining machines."
In addition, "15 monitors, 22 central processing units (CPUs), 16 keyboards, seven mice, 56 modems, and a laptop" were also seized, the police chief detailed. "A Toyota Hilux, 44 exhaust fans, five alarms, and seven closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were also seized," he added.
Further investigation is being performed, according to Mior Faridalathrash, in order to identify the mastermind behind the unlawful bitcoin mining activity and determine how long it has been going on.
A 28-year-old caretaker of the property in Ayer Tawar was also arrested on suspicion of carrying out illicit bitcoin mining activities and stealing energy. The police chief stated:
"The arrested individual was placed in custody for four days and is being investigated under the Penal Code's Sections 379 and 427, as well as the Electricity Supply Act of 1990."
Malaysian authorities used a steamroller to destroy 1,069 bitcoin mining machines in July. Earlier this year, the coins were confiscated.