Thai police bust major cryptocurrency mining operation

Picture courtesy of Coinbase

Thai police apprehended multiple individuals and confiscated over 650 cryptocurrency mining devices valued at over 200 million baht in Samut Sakhon and Ratchaburi, following an investigation into suspected electricity theft. The high-profile crackdown involved officers from the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) and Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) officials, who targeted the locations due to their exceptionally high power usage.

The first spot was located within the compound of a temple in tambon Nong Song Hong, in Samut Sakhon’s Ban Phaeo district. Here, the officers discovered 187 devices used for cryptocurrency mining. A warehouse compound in Ratchaburi yielded a further 465 electronic devices, including phones, computers and tablets.

During the operation, Provincial Electricity Authority officials carried out an inspection of the electricity supply systems at both locations. They found evidence that the electricity meters had been meddled with, facilitating an estimated 5 million baht in unpaid electricity theft.

Three men, including Sombat Tangnawadee and Kiatkongel Tumthong, along with a man only identified as Somwang, were detained for questioning. The trio confessed to being responsible for the mining sites, which had been operational for approximately two months.

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According to their statements, Sombat and Somwang, who managed the Samut Sakhon and the Ratchaburi sites respectively, imported the equipment illegally from China. This equipment was then sold to cryptocurrency miners.

In addition to selling the equipment, they offered to house the devices for the miners, charging them a monthly fee of 6,200 baht, inclusive of electricity costs.

Authorities revealed that these sites had already been under surveillance prior to receiving complaints regarding the dubious operations of the cloud mining setup.

Cryptocurrency mining devices, which operate continuously, can rack up electricity costs amounting to approximately 9,000 baht per month. In recent times, there has been a surge in reports of investment schemes offering leasing or purchasing crypto mining devices at discounted rates, reported Bangkok Post.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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