Police from the city of Qiqihar in Western China used a drone to locate an illegal Bitcoin mine hidden in the centre of the large “fish pond” or marsh adjacent to an oil production facility, Chinese news outlet Huangiu reports.
Police from the Green Grassland Police Station of the Qiqihar District Public Security Bureau reportedly went in to investigate after Daqing Oilfield personnel detected a drain on their facility’s power.
A drone search of an area 2 kilometres square then detected a “small white iron shed” concealed under bales of hay as well as the 5-cm diameter power line being used to power the machines with electricity stolen from the oil field.
The line reportedly ran 200 meters from the shed and under a pond to secretly tap into the oil field’s power supply.
Police reportedly had to don hip waders to wade across water 1.5 metres deep in order to excavate the shed.
A suspect named Li has been identified, and the investigation is reportedly ongoing.
Although cryptocurrencies are banned in China, the country so far continues to tolerate its crypto mining sector, though a ban has been proposed by China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
A number of individuals accused of stealing electricity to mine cryptocurrencies have been charged and punished by Chinese authorities in recent years.
In May, A 61-year-old woman in Tangshan was sentenced to 4 months in prison and fined 10 000 Yuan ($1450 USD) for allegedly “stealing the national power resources” to mine Bitcoins, Chinese news outlet The Paper reported.
The woman,Tang Qiuping, allegedly stole 17277.6 kWh of electricity worth 8984.35 yuan while running 4 Bitcoin mining machines in her home.
Tang’s operation garnered an estimated profit of 6500 yuan, with some of the proceeds sold before her arrest. She reportedly confessed to the crime and her relatives, “actively reimbursed economic losses and illegal gains.”
In November of last year, a principal and vice-principal at a middle school in Hunan, China, were caught and punished for using school facilities and school electricity to mine the cryptocurrency Ethereum, HK01 reported.