By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 14: A cryptocurrency mining operator and a co-proprietor of the premises were both fined a collective amount of RM55,000 after pleading guilty to power theft charges at the Miri Sessions Court recently.
The 42-year-old accused, Sim Lei Yean, pleaded guilty to all three charges under the Electricity Ordinance, while Jong Min Siong, 48, also pleaded guilty before Sessions Court judge Mohd Taufik Mohd@Mohd Yusoff.
Mohd Taufik also scheduled the case for further mention on Nov 18, 2020. They each faced three-months imprisonment if they failed to settle the fines in full by then.
Both the accused were charged under Section 33 (5) for illegally by-passing an electricity meter at a residential house at Jalan Desa Bahagia, off Jalan Pujut 7, Vista Perdana in Miri.
Sim was also charged with endangering human lives and interfering with electrical installations under the Ordinance.
They were arrested on Aug 27, 2018 during a joint raid between Sarawak Energy and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), where they were caught in possession of 90 stolen meters and 500 imitation Sesco meter covers.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy, in a media release today, revealed that investigations are still ongoing for 16 other cryptocurrency mining operators in Sibu and Miri, pending prosecution by Sarawak State Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“These operators were found involved in stealing electricity in this year’s joint operations between MOU and Sarawak Energy,” the statement added.
Sarawak Energy will continue to carry out meter inspections and investigation operations throughout Sarawak together with the Ministry of Utilities and the police to curb this dangerous activity.
The energy developer and power utility is mandated to recover arrears or estimated unpaid amounts for up to 36 months from the detection of theft by account holders.
Sarawak Energy warned that power theft is a crime which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment if found guilty.
It is also a dangerous act which endangers lives and damages customers’ properties including electrical appliances which may lead to a fire.
Customers are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premise owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering as meter inspection teams are trained to detect tampered meters.
Landlords are also advised to ensure that their tenants do not tamper with their electricity meters to avoid unnecessary prosecution upon themselves.
The public is encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information obtained will be kept strictly confidential.— DayakDaily