Malaysian authorities seized 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs, laid them out in a parking lot at police headquarters, and used a steamroller to crush them, as part of a joint operation between law enforcement in the city of Miri and electric utility Sarawak Energy. CNBC reports: Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari told CNBC the crackdown came after miners allegedly stole $2 million worth of electricity siphoned from Sarawak Energy power lines. A video of the event posted last week by local Sarawak news outlet Dayak Daily has since gone viral on social media.
Acting on a tip, authorities on the island of Borneo confiscated the rigs in six separate raids between February and April. In total, police destroyed about $1.26 million of mining equipment. Police opted to crush the mining gear rather than sell it, in accordance with a court order. Other countries, like China, have taken a different route, reportedly auctioning off seized rigs. Hawari said that electricity theft by bitcoin miners led to three houses burning down in the city. The Miri police chief told CNBC that there are no other active mining operations underway currently. The report notes that crypto mining is not illegal in Malaysia, although “there are stringent laws around power use.”
“The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Malaysia accounts for 3.44% of all the world’s bitcoin miners, placing it in the top ten mining destinations on the planet.”
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