Cryptocurrency Mining Operations Exposed By Fire

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KUCHING: The quick action of residents in reporting a fire seen in an unoccupied house in Desa Pujut 7 in Miri prevented its spread to neighbouring houses in the area.

Immediately upon being alerted of the incident that happened last Friday (2 July), a technical team from Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) shut down supply in the area to ensure the safety of the firefighters called to the scene after fire was reported to be seen at the premises.

Subsequent checks by the technical team and the Miri District Police found that the mains wiring in the affected house was connected illegally and had been hidden in the ceiling.

They also found evidence of cryptocurrency mining machines that had been dismantled and hastily moved out by the operator.

The police found equipment commonly used in cryptocurrency mining operations such as sponge foam sheets, make-shift racks, and internet cables.

Police also seized other evidence found in the house and the owner of the premises will be called to assist in the investigation.

In a press release today, SEB said it will continue to widen the search to track down cryptocurrency mining operation premises that steal electricity.

Power theft activities are closely related to cryptocurrency mining activities with those involved tapping electricity supply directly from overhead lines using the supply for free at the expense of public safety.

Cryptocurrency mining operations typically run 24 hours a day and require a substantial amount of energy. Direct connection to the overhead lines will cause overload to the electricity network system, eventually leading to unnecessary outages or low voltage that could damage appliances, affecting other nearby customers.

Tampered wirings can lead to electrocution of unsuspecting members of the public who may not know the existence of electricity cables in their vicinity or, in this case, cause an electrical fire which endangers the neighbourhood.

Stealing electricity is a dangerous crime and the public are advised not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premise owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering.

Stealing electricity is a criminal offence under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years jail if found guilty.

SEB said it appreciates the support from members of the public and encourages reporting of cryptocurrency mining activities in their neighbourhood or abandoned buildings to its customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at customercare@sarawakenergy.com. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.

Equipment commonly used in cryptocurrency mining operations such as sponge foam sheets, make-shift racks, and internet cables were also found at the premises.

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