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Illegal Crypto Miners in Malaysia Stole $723M Worth of Electricity Since 2018

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Illegal Crypto Miners in Malaysia Stole $723M Worth of Electricity Since 2018

Illegal crypto mining operators in Malaysia have stolen $723 million worth of electricity between 2018 and 2023.

Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation, Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir, revealed this during an event where approximately $467,000 worth of seized items, including Bitcoin mining machines and electrical equipment, were destroyed.

Nasir emphasized that these illicit mining operations not only harm Malaysia’s state-controlled power operator but also impact local communities in affected areas.

Energy Companies Can Detect Abnormal Usage

Those engaging in electricity theft typically evade registration with the appropriate authorities and resort to circumventing electricity meters or diverting power from existing lines.

“The theft of electricity by those who mine cryptocurrency occurs because they believe this activity cannot be detected due to the absence of meters on their premises.”

However, energy supply companies can use various methods to identify abnormal energy consumption in an area, allowing Malaysian officials to seize over 2,000 items during an operation in October 2022.

While mining cryptocurrency itself is not illegal in Malaysia, the act of stealing electricity for mining purposes is deemed unlawful, as clarified by Malaysia’s Universiti Teknologi MARA in December 2022.

The Malaysian authorities have been cracking down on cryptocurrency miners since at least August 2019, with Nasir emphasizing that these procedures are carried out in accordance with the country’s criminal procedure laws.

Some seized machines have even been crushed by a steamroller as part of the disposal process.

Nasir further stated that curbing illegal mining activities has been a priority for the Ministry of Energy Transition and Water Transformation, alongside efforts to boost Malaysia’s renewable energy sources.

In addition to addressing illegal mining operations, Malaysian authorities have taken action against unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges.

In May of the previous year, the Securities Commission Malaysia ordered Huobi Global, a cryptocurrency exchange, to cease its operations as it had failed to register its trading services.

Currently, HATA Digital, Luno, SINEGY, MX Global, Tokenize Technology, and Torum International are the only registered cryptocurrency trading platforms in Malaysia.

Forex and Crypto Investment Fraud Busted in Malaysia

Back in May, Malaysian authorities dismantled a forex investment fraud and cryptocurrency syndicate that had been operating in the country.

The syndicate, which had been laundering funds obtained through overseas scams, was targeted in a series of raids conducted across the Klang Valley from May 13 to 21.

As a result, eight local men and two women were arrested, and substantial amounts of assets were seized.

During the raids, law enforcement officials managed to confiscate 129 vehicles with exclusive registration number plates, estimated to be worth $3.8 million.

Additionally, they seized 75 branded watches valued at $2.1 million, 18 luxury vehicles worth $1.7 million, over $100,000 in cash, and more assets.

Furthermore, bank accounts totaling $10.8 million were frozen as part of the investigation.