NEWS & UPDATES
Cryptocurrency Mining Operator and Accomplice Plead Guilty To Electricity Theft
14 OCTOBER 2020
The Electrical Inspectorate Unit under the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak (MOU) achieved another significant milestone in their continued fight against electricity thieves in Sarawak recently. Two parties - a cryptocurrency mining operator and a co-proprietor of the premises pleaded guilty to power theft charges at the Miri Sessions Court.
The 42-year-old accused, Sim Lei Yean, pleaded guilty to all three charges under the Electricity Ordinance, while Jong Min Siong, 48 also pleaded guilty in the presence of Sessions Court Judge, Tuan Mohd Taufik Bin Mohd@Mohd Yusoff.
Both the accused were charged under Section 33 (5) for illegally by-passing an electricity meter at a residential house at Jalan Desa Bahagia, off Jalan Pujut 7, Vista Perdana. Sim was also charged with endangering human lives and interfering with electrical installations under the Ordinance.
They were arrested on 27 August 2018 during a joint raid between Sarawak Energy and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), where they were caught in possession of 90 stolen meters and 500 imitation SESCO meter covers.
Both were fined a collective amount of RM55,000.00 and the case is scheduled for further mention on 18 November 2020. They each face 3-months imprisonment if they both fail to settle the fines in full by then.
MOU was represented by the State Attorney General’s Chambers, while both accused were represented by their counsel.
Investigations are still ongoing for sixteen other cryptocurrency mining operators in Sibu and Miri, pending prosecution by Sarawak State Attorney-General's Chambers. These operators were found involved in stealing electricity in this year’s joint operations between MOU and Sarawak Energy.
Sarawak Energy will continue to carry out meter inspections and investigation operations throughout Sarawak together with the Ministry of Utilities and the Police to curb this dangerous activity. The energy developer and power utility is mandated to recover arrears or estimated unpaid amounts for up to 36 months from the detection of theft by account holders.
Power theft is a crime which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment if found guilty. It is also a dangerous act which endangers lives and damages customers’ properties including electrical appliances which may lead to a fire.
Customers are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premise owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering as meter inspection teams are trained to detect tampered meters. Landlords are also advised to ensure that their tenants do not tamper with their electricity meters to avoid unnecessary prosecution upon themselves.
The public is encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email email@example.com. All information obtained will be kept strictly confidential.
FILE PHOTOS FROM THE JOINT SESCO AND MACC RAID ON 27 AUGUST 2018
Overview of the mini meter laboratory discovered at the rented premises
Imitation SESCO meter covers found at the premises
Stacks of cryptocurrency mining servers found during the joint raid