Police in Malaysia captured over 400 bitcoin mining machines worth a total of RM180,000 (or $43,800).
George Town, capital of Penang state, was where the Police uncovered the mining machines, arresting four suspects during raids on seven shophouses.
Assistant Commissioner (ACP) Soffian Santong stated a task force from the district police headquarters, state criminal investigation department, and Tenaga Nasional conducted four raids in the bust from 11.30 pm to 3 am on Friday, June 11.
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Raids lead to more operations
ACP Soffian confirmed the four incursions took place after interrogating four suspects arrested after raids on three other properties in Jelutong earlier the same day.
In a statement, Soffian declared that “During the raids at Lintang Hajjah Rehmah, Jelutong, Sungai Dua and Bayan Lepas, police also confiscated four computers, 11 routers, four modems, and ten fans”.
The initial investigation revealed that all four premises were stealing electricity for bitcoin mining activities.
The Assistant Commissioner disclosed that the suspects under interrogations claimed they were cleaners and only started working two months ago. However, checks at all four premises raided in the bust found evidence they had illegally connected electricity to the properties.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s multinational electricity company, estimated losses of around RM420,000 or $102,239 over the past two months due to the electricity theft.
Crime boss remains at large
Police are still looking for the syndicate’s head honcho, believed to have been operating for a few months.
The four suspects remain remanded to facilitate investigations under Section 379 and Section 427 of the Penal Code and Section 37 of the Electricity Supply Act 1990.
These are not the first illegal bitcoin mining operations discovered in Malaysia in recent times. Since Soffian believes several other operations are currently in use for a similar purpose, they may not certainly be the last.
Illegal bitcoin mining seems to be on the rise. A few weeks ago, police in the United Kingdom had unearthed a bitcoin mining facility allegedly stealing electricity, running into thousands of pounds. Interestingly, the illegal mining facilities were found while searching for a cannabis farm. At the time, UK police seized 100 bitcoin mining machines.