Malaysian authorities have arrested five persons for allegedly stealing electricity worth RM 250,000 ($59,580.58), to illegally mine cryptocurrencies.
According to reports by local media, The Malay Mail, the operation was carried out by members of the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU), and the police.
The two-day investigation led to the discovery of five illegal cryptocurrency mining centers at Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, Jalan Pahlawan, and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.
The SEB revealed that the culprits had illegally connected their wires hidden through its gypsum ceiling to the main incoming power supply, thus bypassing electricity consumption meters.
As per the report, despite operating crypto mining facilities that are believed to be energy-intensive, initial checks on the facilities showed that the monthly bills for the centers range from just RM 800 ($190.66) to RM 1000 ($238.32).
“Actual load readings taken on-site showed that all five premises were consuming at least RM 250,000 ($59,580.58) worth of electricity per month,” the SEB said.
Five police reports have been lodged against the suspects, and the case has been forwarded to the Sarawak State Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The illegal connections were removed and kept as evidence, while the owners of the buildings will be invited for questioning to determine whether or not the suspects made the illegal connection themselves or the landlords.
The theft of electricity is a criminal offense in the country under Section 33 (5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance. If found guilty, the suspects could pay a fine of RM 100,000 ($23,832.23) and/or sentenced to a five-year jail term.
Since 2018, Malaysian authorities have been cracking down on illicit crypto mining operations due to the increased electricity theft in the country.
In a similar development, Coinfomania reported that a joint task effort between the Malaysian Energy Consumption and the Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) raided two illegal crypto mining facilities on the grounds of electricity theft.
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