KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) raided an illegal cryptocurrency mining centre, occupying two floors of a shophouse at Uni Central Commercial Centre here for stealing electricity, recently. Following a public tip-off and months of surveillance, SEB’s utility arm, Syarikat SESCO Bhd (SESCO), together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities and the police, raided the business premises. The utility company in a statement here said suspicion over the premises came about when the business operators blocked the access to the stairwell with a grill door covered with aluminium sheets to prevent any personnel from entering the area where the meters were located.
During the raid, SESCO technicians found that the premises did not have any electricity meter as power supply was tapped directly from SESCO mains wiring to the premise’s distribution board. The direct tapping was concealed in the concrete ceiling to avoid detection. “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,” the statement read. All the tampered wirings found at the premises were seized and a police report was lodged. The business owners were called in to assist with investigations and will be brought to court. Other than illegal electricity connection, SEB said the operators were also found violating Section 87 of the Building Bylaw for obstructing the common area of the stairwell.
Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) raided an illegal cryptocurrency mining centre, occupying two floors of a shophouse at Uni Central Commercial Centre, Kuching. Pix courtesy of SEB
“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 raids and checks to curb this dangerous crime. Landlords have been advised to be on alert of their tenants’ business activities to avoid getting implicated in the crimes committed by the tenants operating within their rented 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.