Phuket’s crypto firestorm: Faulty wiring sparks blazing inferno, exposing illegal crypto-mining operation

PHOTO: Phuket Info Center

Firefighters were called to handle a blaze in Phuket Town exacerbated by faulty wiring. The cause was believed to be illegal crypto-mining. Surprisingly, the fire took place on the third floor of a building near the Thailand Post branch on Bangkok Road. It reportedly started around 6am yesterday and was swiftly extinguished by the responding firefighters. Fortunately, no casualties were reported as a result of the fire.

However, upon later inspection of the fire site, authorities uncovered a wide range of computer equipment, reduced to wreckage by the flames. Observably, the nature of the equipment bore striking resemblances to ones recovered earlier from illegal crypto-mining operations around the country. The scene also housed heaps of spare computer accessories, including graphic cards.

Interestingly, law enforcement authorities remained silent about any investigations into the blaze and the alleged illegitimate crypto-mining activity in the building.

Intriguingly, a similar illegal cryptocurrency mining operation in Samut Prakan tangling with electricity theft, made an astounding 500 million baht (US$14 million) vanish every month.

Last December, the Justice Minister, Somsak Thepsutin, unravelled a massive clandestine operation which had accrued around 3,500 mining devices, suspected of being smuggled from China, from 41 rented buildings in Bangkok and Nonthaburi. Allegedly, these devices were covertly connected to outdoor power lines, draining an estimated 500 million baht worth of electricity from the state grid over the past two years.

Providing insight into the profitability of these illicit ventures, the Justice Minister revealed that these crypto miners projected roughly 35 baht per device per day. Combined, over the aforementioned two-year course, these shady operators raked in an immense 100 million baht (US$2,840,000). Yet, up until now, it remains unconfirmed whether the premises in Phuket were hosting similar crypto-mining activities. As the investigation unfolds and police authorities delve deeper, there is likely to be more clarity around this incident.

Crime NewsPhuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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