SERDANG: A Bitcoin mining operation capable of mining at least RM17mil every four months has been smashed by the police.
The perpetrators’ crime was not the cryptocurrency mining operation but electricity theft.
The syndicate operated out of three premises in Taman Puncak Jalil here and allegedly used an estimated RM90,000 worth of electricity supply a month to power the mining computers by bypassing Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) electricity meters.
Serdang OCPD Asst Comm Razali Abu Samah said police, aided by TNB technicians, raided three premises along Jalan PUJ 3/8, Taman Puncak Jalil, on Nov 5 and arrested three men and a woman.
“Based on our investigations, the men were caretakers and technicians for the Bitcoin mining operations.
“To avoid paying for power consuption, they had set up illegal electricity connections which bypassed TNB meters, ” he told reporters at the Serdang police headquarters yesterday.
Officers found 240 processing units for cryptocurrency mining activities at the three premises, he said.
“Investigations revealed the estimated usage of electricity for one premises was about RM30,000, but the electricity bill only came to about RM500.
“We also found industrial fans in the premises that were used to cool down the equipment which was said to generate a lot of heat, ” he said, adding that each processing unit was worth between RM200 and RM500.
He said each processing unit was capable of mining one Bitcoin every four months.
“Based on this and the fact that one Bitcoin is worth at least RM74,000 now, the group could have raked in about RM17mil every four months.
“Our checks revealed the suspects had been operating for two months prior to their arrest, ” he said.
ACP Razali said one of the suspects in his 30s had a prior criminal record for stealing electricity, causing mischief and was previously detained under the Prevention of Crime Act.
Three of the suspects will be charged under Section 37(1) of the Electricity Supply Act 1990 for tampering with electricity supply equipment.
Bitcoin mining involve using many powerful computers that solve complex mathematical problems.