Law enforcement authorities have shut down two illegal Bitcoin mining operations, in Johor, Malaysia which had been draining around $20,000 worth in electricity every month for the past three years. This accumulated to a total of $600,000 for 3 years by the time they were arrested.
According to a Malaysian local news report on Sept. 1, law enforcement acting on an investigation from Malaysia’s Energy Commission (ST), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)— have raided two illegal mining operations in the city of Iskander Puteri that were responsible for more than $600,000 in electricity theft.
Nazlin Alim Sadikhi, Regional Director of ST, said following the raid:
“We found that illegal wiring was installed so that electricity was supplied directly and not through the TNB meter. The first premises is believed to have been operating for three years while the second premises for two years […] We found 100 mining machines in the first premises and another 48 in the second premises.”
As reported by local news media, The Star, if the individuals responsible for the illegal Bitcoin mining operation are found guilty, they could face up to ten years imprisonment or a maximum penalty of $240,000.
Bitcoin Mining from illegal rigs that siphon power is an ongoing problem in Malaysia and particularly the state of Johor. TNB Engineer Mohd Satari Mohamad told the publication that some 288 cryptocurrency mining premises had been raided in Johor since 2018, including about 90 assumptions this year.
“In most cases, the owners of the premises were in cahoots with the cryptocurrency mining operators. They have similar operation methods where they have illegal wiring installed to the mining machines to illegally draw electricity supply.”