Investigators have seized around 3,500 illegal cryptocurrency mining units operating in rented buildings in Bangkok and Nonthaburi.
Cryptocurrency miners were directly connected to external power lines and had illegally drained around 500 million baht of electricity from the public grid over the past two years, Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said.
In a speech to the Department of Special Investigations (DSI), Mr. Somsak announced the seizure of around 3,500 crypto-mining units from 41 commercial buildings.
The minister said the equipment was smuggled into the country from China and then installed in the buildings. They were directly connected to the state electricity transmission network. There were no meters and they didn’t pay electricity fees.
Each building had around 100 of these devices running 24 hours a day, and building inspectors paid only 300 to 2,000 baht per month in electricity costs per building.
About 20 people have been arrested for maintaining the mining units, and officials are interrogating them to find out more about the network and its officials.
Cryptocurrency miners had earned around 35 baht per device per day. In the last two years, they have generated around 100 million baht.
Investigators are investigating whether employees of energy companies worked with those companies.
DSI Director General Trairit Temahiwong said gangs involved in drugs and online gambling use cryptocurrency mining to launder money. He said four of the buildings ransacked were damaged by fire because the cryptocurrency mining units overheated.