In a recent video that went viral, the Malaysian police were filmed destroying 1,069 mining rigs with a steamroller.
Suspects allegedly stole RM8.4 million worth of electricity
According to Sarawakian news outlet Dayak Daily, the destroyed rigs are valued around RM5.3 million (approx. S$1.7 million).
Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari said the seized gaming rigs were a result of six raids that took place in the city of Miri, Sarawak.
The crackdown, conducted jointly with utility provider Sarawak Energy, was launched after miners allegedly stole RM8.4 million (S$2.7 million) worth of electricity from Sarawak Energy power lines.
The illicit mining activities have caused fires in three houses, due to illegal and dangerous electrical connections, the police said.
Court order to destroy seized mining rigs
The police's decision to "steamroll" the mining rigs were in adherence to the court order of destroying the mining rigs, CNBC reported.
Eight people who are involved in the illicit mining operation have since been arrested, with six of them being charged under Section 379 in the Penal Code for stealing energy supplies, according to Hawari.
Those charged will face eight months of jail time and a fine of up to RM8,000 (S$2,570) per person, as reported by Dayak Daily.
Malaysia among top 10 mining destinations
According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, which provides the latest estimate of the total energy consumption of the Bitcoin network, Malaysia ranks third among the top mining destinations globally, after the U.S. and Russia.
It is estimated that miners in Malaysia make up about 3.44% of the global mining population.
Top image via Andre Mackenzie/Unsplash & Dayak Daily/Youtube