Taichung, Nov. 16 (CNA) A total of five suspects have been indicted by prosecutors for stealing electricity at eight legal bitcoin mining farms in Taichung worth about NT$76.83 million (US$2.40 million).
According to Taichung District Court, the case dates back to March, when the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), acting on information from Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower), identified two bitcoin mining farms in Shigang and Shalu districts in Taichung as stealing electricity. Both facilities were managed and built by a man surnamed Huang (黃).
The police determined that the mining operation was part of a bigger operation and launched a larger investigation in cooperation with prosecutors.
In May, the prosecutors and the police found that Huang had built three other bitcoin mining farms in Taichung’s South, Central and Dali districts, which were also stealing power.
The police asked the court for permission to detain Huang and their request was approved.
While collecting evidence, the police subsequently found three other mining farms in Taichung’s North, Central and Xitun districts, indicating that a criminal ring was running a total of eight mining farms.
From July to September, the investigation continued and four people were arrested, including an investor in the operation surnamed Cheng (鄭), Cheng’s wife surnamed Su (蘇), another bitcoin mining farm builder also surnamed Huang, and an individual who rented the locations.
According to the police, 700 mining machines were confiscated in raids conducted from March to September. Prosecutors will ask the court to seize the NT$4 million in profit the operation made and make the five suspects pay the cost of the electricity they stole, which was NT$76.83 million, according to Taipower.
At the same time, prosecutors highlighted that the wiring in two of the farms was dangerously close to being burned through.
In the event of a fire, public safety would have been severely impacted and so prosecutors have asked the court to hand down heavy sentences to everyone involved.
(By Su Mu-chun and Evelyn Yang)