Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari told CNBC the crackdown came after miners allegedly stole $2 million worth of electricity siphoned from Sarawak Energy power lines. A video of the event posted last week by local Sarawak news outlet Dayak Daily has since gone viral.
The rigs were confiscated in six separate raids between February and April. In total, police destroyed about $1.26 million of mining equipment. Police opted to crush the mining gear rather than sell it, in accordance with a court order. Which is a pity ,given there is a shortage of graphics cards and computer chips.
Other countries, like China, have taken a different route, reportedly auctioning off seized rigs. Hawari said that electricity theft by bitcoin miners led to three houses burning down in the city.
The report notes that crypto mining is not illegal in Malaysia, although "there are stringent laws around power use".
Malaysia accounts for 3.44 percent of all the world's bitcoin miners, placing it in the top ten mining destinations on the planet.