Taiwanese Resident Arrested for Allegedly Stealing $3 Million in Electricity to Mine Cryptocurrency

Omar Faridi

A Taiwanese citizen with the surname Yang has been arrested after he was allegedly caught stealing $3 million worth of electricity to mine bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

Rewiring Premises To Bypass Electricity Metering

According to local news outlet EBC Dongsen, Yang has been accused of stealing millions of dollars in electricity to mine digital currencies worth over 100 million Chinese yuan (appr. $14.5 million). The Taiwanese resident had reportedly mined cryptocurrencies from at least 17 different business offices including toy shops and internet cafes.

Police officials investigating the matter said that Yang intentionally used various locations to secretly mine digital currencies. The incident report also revealed that Yang had hired several electricians to help him rewire the premises in a manner that bypassed detection from electricity metering units. This reportedly allowed him to steal large amounts of electricity.

Taiwan Power, the state-owned utility company, contacted authorities after discovering irregularities in the electricity supply. As mentioned, police officials have only arrested Yang for his alleged involvement in stealing power to mine bitcoin and ether, however, at least one other suspected accomplice has also been identified.

Commenting on the incident, Wang Zhicheng, the deputy head of the fourth brigade of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, said: 

The [accused] recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.

Many Illegal Crypto Mining Operations Uncovered 

As CryptoGlobe reported in November, a teacher in China was fired from his job after he was allegedly caught mining ether (ETH) on school property. The teacher, named Lei Hua, had reportedly been mining ether for almost a year before the school’s management found out about the operation.

After receiving an electricity bill of over $2,000, which was presumably a lot higher than normal, the school’s administration began investigating the matter. Although Hua claimed that the high power consumption was due to overusing air conditioners and heaters, the school’s management managed to find and seize the cryptocurrency mined and the hardware equipment used.

As covered, Russian authorities shut down a massive illegal mining operation in April. Approximately 6,000 units of mining hardware equipment was confiscated from the mining farm and two workers were arrested after police officials discovered that the overall power consumption reached 8 Million kW/h.

The total cost of power consumption exceeded $1 million, which led to a police investigation. The former employees who were taken into police custody were charged with property damage and stealing electricity.