MELAKA, March 26 — Melaka police are hunting for a man believed to be the main culprit behind a bitcoin currency mining syndicate in the state, causing Tenaga Nasional Berhad to suffer losses of about RM9 million since February 2019.
Melaka police chief Datuk Abdul Majid Mohd Ali said the individual, Tan Joe Pheng, 26, was wanted for actively running bitcoin mining activities at 18 premises in the state.
“I urge the public who have information about the suspect to inform the police. The suspect is also urged to surrender to the nearest police station,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.
Abdul Majid said that the man was wanted to assist in further investigations under Section 379 of the Penal Code (KK) / 37 (1) of the Electricity Supply Act 1990 which provides for a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding RM 1 million.
He said police also detained six individuals, aged 29 to 39, including a man and a woman who are believed to be siblings of the main mastermind and both of whom acted as accountant and manager of the bitcoin mining activities.
All six, including an Indonesian man, were detained separately around Melaka and Selangor on March 16 and 17.
Abdul Majid said the police also raided six premises, two each in Melaka Tengah, Alor Gajah and Jasin districts which were used to carry out the activities and seized 317 bitcoin mining machines and various other equipment and 38 keys believed to be to the premises around Melaka.
In a separate development, he said four men aged between 25 and 60 were arrested for four cases involving setting fire and 17 cases of dousing paint on victims of unlicensed money lending or ’Ah Long’ since 2019.
He said all the men were paid between RM200 and RM300 to spray paint and RM500 for setting fire on the house of borrowers, who failed to make loan payments, and their neighbours with the intention of defaming the borrowers.
“All the men were arrested separately around the Melaka Tengah district on March 10 and various items used to commit the offences were also seized.
“The investigation found that all the suspects arrested were hired by an ‘ah long’ who operates in Johor via online on Facebook and WhatsApp and even the communication and payment transactions between them were done virtually,” he said.
He said the case was being investigated under Section 436 of the Penal Code. — Bernama