Malaysian authorities seized bitcoin mining rigs after tip-offs. The rigs were operating by siphoning off electricity illegally from Sarawak Energy power lines. The rigs were then laid out in a car park and the scene was videoed as a bulldozer destroyed them all.
According to a story on CNBC earlier today, cryptocurrency mining is not illegal in Malaysia, but there are very strict laws around the use of power sources. There are fines of up to 100,000 malaysian ringgit ($23,700) and five years in prison.
Therefore, the Malaysian police authority response to seizing so many bitcoin mining rigs came as no surprise. The operation to take down the bitcoin mining operation was a joint enterprise between the Miri law enforcement authorities and Sarawak Energy power lines.
Authorities in the North West of the island of Borneo raided mining farms in six separate operations earlier this year. Once they had captured the rigs the police chose to destroy the mining gear rather than sell it because they were acting in accordance with a court order.
The theft of electricity, besides illegally stealing power from the electricity grid, also resulted in three houses burning down. According to the police authority in Miri, they have now taken down all illegal mining activity in the area.
Given that the theft of electricity was fairly major, around $2 million worth of electricity was actually stolen, the authorities decided to make a show of destroying the rigs. Therefore, all the mining equipment was laid out in the police parking lot and a steamroller was used to crush them all.
The scene was filmed by journalists and was then posted by the Sarawak Daily, a local news outlet. Since then, the video has gone viral and has received nearly 350,000 views on YouTube.
Eight people were detained during the raids and six of these have been charged under section 379 of the Malaysian penal code for illegally using energy. The six will now face jail sentences of eight months, and will be forced to pay out fines of up to $1,900 each.
Malaysia does host a large amount of legal bitcoin mining, and this accounts for nearly 3.5% of bitcoin mining globally, putting Malaysia in the top ten of countries providing most power to the bitcoin network.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.