Police in the Malaysian city of Miri destroyed more than $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin mining rigs after they were confiscated for operating illegally. A video clip, which depicts a steamroller running over 1,069 mining rigs, went viral on Twitter on Friday.
As Malaysian paper “The Star” reported, eight people in Miri were charged for allegedly stealing electricity to power a massive Bitcoin mining operation involving 1,069 PCs. Malaysia has recently started cracking down on countrywide electricity theft used for illegal Bitcoin mining operations.
According to the report, the Miri police and the Sarawak Energy Berhad carried out a joint operation between February and April, arresting eight individuals for allegedly stealing electricity to mine Bitcoin. The mining equipment worth about $1.25 million was confiscated afterwards.
“All seizures made in the cases that had been settled in court were disposed of at the Miri district police headquarters today,” the officials report said.
Another local media posted a video clip that showed the operation by the local police crushing the Bitcoin miners, which swiftly went viral on Twitter.
Illegal Bitcoin mining isn’t anything new in Malaysia. Back in March, a man was accused of stealing over $2.2 million worth of electricity from the Tenaga Nasional Berhad energy company. He is still on the run and wanted by the police. Mining cryptocurrency on this large of a scale requires a huge amount of power, which is an expensive investment, so electricity theft is on the rise around the world.
“The electricity theft for mining Bitcoin activities has caused frequent power outages and in 2021, three houses were razed (because of electrical fires) due to illegal electricity supply connections,” said Miri police chief ACP Hakemal Hawari to The Star.
Currently, the Miri police are working on ways to increase the detection of illegal wire connections for Bitcoin mining activities.
“A total of six people have been successfully charged under Section 379 of the Penal Code for electricity theft and have been fined up to RM8,000 and jailed for up to eight months,” Miri police chief added.
The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Malaysia contributed 3.44% to Bitcoin’s total monthly hashrate as of April. The country has an annual energy consumption of more than 147 terawatt-hours.
Recently, authorities in Iran have prohibited crypto mining because of fears of its impact on national infrastructure. It follows after massive blackouts in major cities over the country caused by a surge of mining.