GEORGE TOWN, July 4 — Police uncovered an illegal bitcoin mining operation and seized 149 machines worth RM150,000 at a shop house in Bandar Baru Farlim, here yesterday following a report on a break-in at the premises by its owner.

Timur Laut district police chief ACP Soffian Santong said the owner, aged 23, lodged a report at 4pm last Friday claiming he was in his house in Jelutong when he received a security warning on his mobile phone that the shop house was broken into.

He said the owner rushed to the place and upon arriving there, saw seven men fleeing in a van and car.

“Acting on the report, the police detected the van on the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway at 4.30pm and arrested two men, aged 34 and 37, as well as seized three computer components, believed stolen from the shop house,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

He said the two men, both locals and with previous records, including for drug-related offences, were in remand for three days for investigation.

Soffian said it was when the police went to the location of the shop house at 12.15am yesterday that they uncovered the premises being used to operate illegal bitcoin mining activities, with the syndicate making illegal connections to steal electricity for the operation.

Inspection by the police at the premises led to the seizure of 149 bitcoin machines worth RM150,000, he said, adding that the shop house owner and his two friends, aged 24 and 33, were detained to facilitate investigation.

Checks by Tenaga Nasional Berhad found that the syndicate had been conducting their operation since four months ago resulting in losses amounting to RM180,000 to the agency, he added. — Bernama