CrimeEastern ThailandWealth Management

Bitcoin mine raided over suspiciously big electricity bill

A commercial building in Nang Rong district, Buri Ram, has been running up a suspiciously big electricity bill.

The premises – two storey-building with two shop fronts – were raided by police Sunday, is a search for an illegal bitcoin mining operation.

China’s recent ban and crackdown on cryptocurrency has fuelled a cryptocurrency mining boom in Thailand as small investors quickly bought up equipment that is now useless in China.

In September, China’s central bank declared all digital currency trading and mining illegal. Some of the largest Bitcoin mining operations in the world relocated while many smaller miners sold their equipment and Thai buyers took advantage of the opportunity.

Nang Rong police arrived armed with a warrant was issued at the request of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).

The PEA had observed that electricity was being stolen via cables wired directly from the main power transmission lines for use in the building. The theft had been going on for nine months, causing about 1 million baht (US$30,000) in losses.

The building had been rented to a tenant, but when police arrived at the scene, nobody was to be found.

Cables were found connected from the main power transmission lines to two rooms on the second floor.

In one room, the police found about 60 computers, a power control box, a WiFi router and a closed-circuit television camera. Computer boxes were found in the other room.

The equipment, believed to have been used for cryptocurrency mining, was taken to Nang Rong police station as evidence.

Three weeks ago, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) raided about 50 cryptomines in Bangkok and Nonthaburi province for stealing electricity amounting to 325 million baht (US$10 million) per year.

The cybercrime department of the DSI, under the codename Electrical Shock, investigated 40 buildings in Bangkok, and Nonthaburi that they suspected of illegally using electricity without an electric digital multimeter.