Cryptominers rack up big B5m unpaid electricity bill
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Cryptominers rack up big B5m unpaid electricity bill

An investigation into electricity theft from cryptocurrency mining has resulted in arrests and the seizure of over 650 crypto mining devices worth more than 200 million baht in Samut Sakhon and Ratchaburi, according to the police.

Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau officers, joined by officials from the Provincial Electricity Authority, raided the two spots after obtaining warrants based on their unusually high electricity consumption.

The first site was within the compound of a temple in tambon Nong Song Hong in Samut Sakhon's Ban Phaeo district, where officers found 187 devices used to mine cryptocurrency. Another 465 phones, computers and tablets were found at a warehouse compound in Ratchaburi.

During the search, PEA officials inspected the electricity supply systems at both sites and found the electricity meters had been tampered with to allow the suspected theft of 5 million baht in unpaid-for electricity.

Sombat Tangnawadee, Kiatkongel Tumthong and another man identified only as Somwang were held for questioning. They admitted they were in charge of the mining sites which had operated for about two months.

Mr Sombat and Mr Somwang, who looked after the Samut Sakhon site and the Ratchaburi site respectively, told police they illegally imported the equipment from China for sale to cryptocurrency miners.

They said they also offered to host the machines for the miners and charged them a monthly fee of 6,200 baht, including electricity costs.

According to police, both sites were already on their radar prior to complaints about the workings of the cloud mining operation.

A device that runs around the clock can consume about 9,000 baht of electricity per month. There has been a recent glut of reports of investment opportunities involving leasing or purchasing crypto mining devices at low prices.

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