NEWS & UPDATES
Hidden Cryptocurrency Centre in Oil Palm Plantation Found Stealing Electricity
Public Urged to Report Suspicious Activities in Abandoned Buildings
27 JUNE 2021
A power theft surveillance operation led to the discovery of a cryptocurrency mining centre in an abandoned wooden hut at an oil palm plantation in Jalan Padang Kerbau, Miri last Friday. The joint operation between Miri District Police and Sarawak Energy on 25 June also seized 44 cryptocurrency mining machines worth RM225,000.
It was discovered that the electricity supply had been connected directly to the wooden hut without a meter during a routine inspection by Sarawak Energy’s professionally trained technical team who is equipped with the necessary equipment and system to detect any power theft methods.
Together with Miri District Police, the team further inspected the hut and found crypto mining servers, a modem and non-standard wiring connected directly to the nearby transformer.
The wooden hut was also an unstable structure in danger of collapse at any time during strong winds and coupled with unsafe wiring, posed a risk of electrocution.
All the items were dismantled and seized as evidence and a police report was lodged over the incident. The Police are also looking for the landowner to assist in the investigation.
Sarawak Energy will continue to widen the search to track down cryptocurrency operations suspected of stealing electricity. Based on recent cases, power theft activities are now closely related to cryptocurrency mining activities and the current modus operandi is by using abandoned houses or huts to avoid detection.
Sarawak Energy customers are constantly reminded to never compromise on electrical safety as stealing electricity is hazardous. In addition, non-standard wiring and illegal connections pose a serious risk to the public as those in the vicinity of power theft activities may fall victim to fire and electrocution.
Those involved tap electricity supply directly from the overhead lines and use the supply for free jeopardising the safety of others. Tampered wiring can also lead to electrocution of unsuspecting members of the public unaware of the existence of electricity cables in their vicinity.
Unregistered electricity consumption is a criminal offence under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, and carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years in jail if found guilty.
Any illegal connection tapping directly to the mains can cause supply instability and unnecessary outage to the surrounding customers. Unsafe wiring connections pose a serious safety risk due to the potential threat of electrical fire and electrocution.
Customers are also reminded not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow owners of premises to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering as meter inspection teams are trained to detect tampered meters, including fake electricity meter covers, as part of Sarawak Energy's continuing efforts to curb power theft.
Sarawak Energy appreciates the support from members of the public and encourages reporting of cryptocurrency mining activities at abandoned houses or huts to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at email@example.com. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.
The wooden hut in an oil palm plantation used for cryptocurrency mining activity
The technical team together with the police gaining access to the wooden hut
A total of 44 cryptocurrency mining servers found in the wooden hut
All items found are dismantled and seized as evidence
Technical team found cables in PVC pipes connected directly to the nearby 50 kVA pole mounted transformer