4 caught, 300 cryptocurrency mining machines seized in power theft bust

KUCHING: Three individuals were arrested while a fourth is being investigated for suspected electricity theft during a joint operation led by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) on four premises used as cryptocurrency mining centres in Miri.

SEB in a statement said the recent two-day operation was also participated by the Ministry of Utilities’ Enforcement and Legal Division and the police, targeting suspected premises in Taman Tunku, Lopeng and Miri Bypass Industrial Park.

Cryptocurrency mining servers discovered at the raided premises.

During the raid, it was discovered that all four premises stole electricity through illegal connections from the incoming mains wiring which bypassed the meters.

“The wirings were without proper insulation and exposed, which is a safety hazard.

“Load readings taken on site showed that the operators should be paying between RM75,000 and RM80,000 per month instead of the RM200 per month, as cryptocurrency mining consumes a high amount of electricity to run 24 hours a day and cool the machines,” said SEB.

It added that a total of 300 cryptocurrency mining machines were confiscated from the four premises, with the tampered wirings and meters also dismantled and seized as evidence.

Members of the raiding team inspect the wiring at one of the premises for evidence of power theft.

The utility company said a police report has been lodged and the premises owners will be called to assist with investigations under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.

“Stealing electricity is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five-year jail term,” it stressed, adding the three suspects have been charged in court.

Since most cryptocurrency mining centres are operating on rented premises, SEB said it would continue to advise landlords to be alert in regard to their tenants’ activities to avoid being implicated in power theft crimes.

It also reminded customers not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.

SEB revealed that in the last three years, there have been more than 110 cases of power theft by cryptocurrency mining operators who tap supply directly from the mains wiring, thus bypassing electricity meters.

It said these unsafe wiring connections pose a serious safety risk to the occupants and public as it can cause electrical fire and electrocution.

SEB urged the public to contact its customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email to customercare@sarawakenergy.com, should they come across suspicious activities related to power theft, or are approached by service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity consumption.

The post 4 caught, 300 cryptocurrency mining machines seized in power theft bust appeared first on Borneo Post Online.

Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/04/02/4-caught-300-cryptocurrency-mining-machines-seized-in-power-theft-bust/

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