Police in Melaka are hunting for a man believed to be the main culprit behind a bitcoin currency mining syndicate in the state which has caused Tenaga Nasional Bhd to suffer losses of about RM9 million since February 2019.
Melaka police chief Abdul Majid Mohd Ali said Tan Joe Pheng, 26, was wanted for actively running bitcoin mining activities at 18 premises in the state.
“I urge members of the public who have information about the suspect to inform the police. The suspect is also urged to surrender to the nearest police station,” he said at a press conference today.
Majid said the man was wanted to assist in further investigations under Section 379 of the Penal Code (KK)/37 (1) of the Electricity Supply Act 1990 which provides for up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding RM 1 million.
He said police also detained six individuals, aged 29 to 39, including a man and a woman who are believed to be siblings of the mastermind, who had acted as the accountant and manager of the bitcoin mining activities.
All six, including an Indonesian man, were detained separately around Melaka and Selangor on March 16 and 17.
Majid said police had raided six premises, two each in Melaka Tengah, Alor Gajah and Jasin, at which the activities were carried out. They also seized 317 bitcoin mining machines and various other pieces of equipment as well as 38 keys believed to be to the premises around Melaka.
In a separate development, he said four men aged 25 to 60 were arrested in four cases involving setting fire and 17 cases of pouring paint on victims of unlicensed money lenders or “Ah Longs” since 2019.
He said the men were paid between RM200 and RM300 to spray paint and RM500 to set on fire the houses of borrowers who failed to make loan payments, as well as their neighbours with the intention of defaming the borrowers.
“All of the men were arrested separately around the Melaka Tengah district on March 10 and the various items used to commit the offences were also seized.
“The investigation found that all of the suspects arrested were hired by an ‘Ah Long’ who operates in Johor online via Facebook and WhatsApp. Even the communications and payment transactions between them were done virtually,” he said.
He said the case is being investigated under Section 436 of the Penal Code.