A man in China used fishponds to disguise his cryptocurrency mining activities. He was caught by Chinese police stealing power from cables meant to maintain oil wells in the Heilongjiang province of China.
Suspicious activity was first noticed by the Daqing Oil Field manager, who complained to police that power was somehow being stolen from the area. Police from the Qiqihar District Public Security Bureau then began working on the case May 28th.
After the alert, police began surveying the area around the oil field. They used drones as part of an airborne investigation across a two-kilometer radius to gather evidence for a criminal case. They then found that men were laying down cables deep through fish ponds to seal electricity from oil wells. Fish ponds were used because the cables crossing the land or even implanted in the dirt would quickly be noticed by authorities.
A report by the Chinese newspaper Global Times stated:
“Men are laying cables through fish ponds to steal oil wells to mine bitcoin for their mining machines…..This is a stealing case.”
Police were able to find a shed near the oil field containing 20 active Bitcoin mining rigs. They connected the rigs to a single cable laid across a 200-meter distance depleting power from the oil well. Further, it is estimated that 48,560 yuan or $7,000 worth of electricity was stolen in this crime.
No further details were given about the number of people involved or who was involved in this cryptocurrency mining crime. However, they have stated that enough evidence has been gathered for a criminal case. The Chinese government does not take cryptocurrency mining crimes lightly and sentences individuals heavily. In October 2018, a man was imprisoned for three and half years for stealing electricity from train stations to mine for bitcoin. Another, Taiwanese citizen was also imprisoned for a similar crime.
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