NEWS & UPDATES
Another Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Centre Raided for Power Theft
Operators Tap Power Supply Directly from SESCO Mains Wiring
KUCHING, 6 AUGUST 2018, MONDAY: Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO), together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities and the police raided an illegal cryptocurrency mining centre occupying two floors of a shophouse at Uni Central Commercial Centre for stealing electricity recently.
This special executive action was carried out after a search warrant was granted by the Magistrate to access the identified business premises for suspicion of power theft following months of surveillance and public tip off. The suspicion over the premises came about when the business operators blocked the access to the common area of the stairwell with a grill door covered with aluminum sheets. The entrance was kept locked, preventing SESCO personnel from accessing the area where the meters were located.
In the raid, the team discovered that the premises were without any electricity meter and supply was tapped directly from SESCO mains wiring to the premise’s distribution board on the second floor and this also supplied the premise on the first floor. The direct tapping was concealed in the concrete ceiling to avoid detection. However, SESCO technicians are well trained to detect the various tampering methods.
The electricity consumption measured from the direct tapping cables was significant, estimated to cost at around RM10, 000 per month based on the 24-hour usage to run the mining servers.
All the tampered wirings found at the premises were seized for evidence and a police report was lodged immediately. The business owners were called in to assist in the investigations and will be brought to court.
Other than illegal electricity connection, the operators were also found violating Section 87 of the Building Bylaw for obstructing the common area of the stairwell.
Based on SESCO’s records, this is not the first power theft case involving cryptocurrency operators. Earlier this year, 12 electricity meters were seized belonging to cryptocurrency operators in Miri. SESCO is in the midst of bringing the cases to court through the Sarawak State Attorney-General's Chambers.
Following the rise of the illegal cryptocurrency mining outlets in the state, SESCO will closely monitor this activity and will continue to actively carry out joint operations with the police and EIU to curb this dangerous crime.
SESCO also advises landlords to always be on alert on their tenants’ business activities. This is to avoid the owners getting implicated in the crimes committed by the tenants operating within their rented premise. Stealing electricity is a crime that endangers lives. It can damage customers’ electrical appliances and even cause fire to the premises. Those found guilty of stealing electricity will be charged under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.
SESCO seeks public cooperation to continue reporting suspicious electricity theft activities via its dedicated hotline at 082-443535. All information will be treated strictly confidential.
The enforcement team removing the aluminum sheet covering the grill blocking the stairwell, witnessed by police and Inspectors from EIU
SESCO technician removing the direct tapping at the SESCO’s incoming mains wirings witnessed by Inspectors from EIU & Police.
Direct tapping concealed in the concrete ceiling
The stacks of cryptocurrency mining servers found at the second floor of the shophouse running 24-7