back to article Malaysian Police crush crypto-mining kit to punish electricity thieves

Police in the Malaysian district of Miri have used a steamroller to crush 1069 computers allegedly used to mine Bitcoin. The accused in this case, according to Miri Police's Facebook page, were stealing electricity to power their mining operations. Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot Bitcoin …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Stop

      If they had pulled the GPUS's from those boxes and sold them, they could have paid off their national debt.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Those looked like ASICs*, no GPUs in sight fortunately.

        * Obsolete ones, at that.

  2. Mark Exclamation

    Only, it's not a "steam"roller.

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Happy

      If it were a proper steam roller there'd be little left on the ground afterwards! Those beasts are heavy with a capital H!

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        The machine pictured can be pretty heavy as well. It depends on how much water one puts into the roller. In this case, it probably wasn't worth the trouble to use maximum weight.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Joke

      "Steam" roller

      How do you know it was not hired from a large online PC gaming company?

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Diesel roller doesn't have the same ring to it.

  3. Brian Miller

    Ah, all the fun!

    How many times I've wanted to do that to old kit. But of course, with the current price of Bitcoin, I'm guessing the fines really didn't amount to much. The loss of their houses and mining rigs was more substantial.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    It’s one way I guess

    To compact your data…

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: It’s one way I guess

      Compression but not deduplication......

  5. HildyJ Silver badge
    Devil

    We need more of this

    Instead of fining Google or Amazon, just destroy part of their server farms.

    1. dave 81

      Re: We need more of this

      Would have to be a substantial part of their server farms...

  6. gandalfcn Silver badge

    Nice place Miri and seems the boyos want to keep it that way. Seems more and more govs are clamping down on these criminals.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ecological vandalism

    Sure, use a fossil fuel powered monster to render expensive integrated circuits unrecoverable. That will offset the electricity stealing somehow...

    I'm sure the press and broadcast media loved it though.

    1. The Axe

      Re: Ecological vandalism

      Just proves that police and politicians are stupid and vain. Would've been way better to sell the kit and donate the money to some local cause. But that doesn't generate clicks.

      1. slimshady76

        Re: Ecological vandalism

        I for one would love to buy a decent GPU at a decent, not inflated price. Illegal mining rigs confiscation could certainly help both to enlarge the government acs and help random blokes score a new GPU...

      2. LovesTha

        Re: Ecological vandalism

        Allowing police forces to sell confiscated goods can easily lead to corruption, destruction removes some of that incendive.

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Ecological vandalism

      Bless.

    3. YetAnotherLocksmith

      Re: Ecological vandalism

      This is exactly what I said!

      Sell the lot to those licensed to have it, or stick it on ebay USA or whatever and export it.

      Stupid publicity stunt.

      1. Ignazio

        Re: Ecological vandalism

        Daft. This Equipment Kills Planets. No it should not be sold for others to use, it should be recycled safely.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Ecological vandalism

          I note the deniers of reality downvoted you. Sad people.

        2. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: Ecological vandalism

          Do you really think destroying these prevents others from buying more?

          So instead of selling them and having them reused will have more manufactured which will then consume yet more resources.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Ecological vandalism

        "Stupid publicity stunt."

        If they had just sold them on, would anyone else have heard of the action taken? Probably not, IMHO. Police are supposed to try to prevent crime, not just deal with it after it's happened. This has driven the message home around the world, not just to the locals.

        Of course, it's just drive the remaining miners further underground :-)

    4. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Ecological vandalism

      "expensive integrated circuits unrecoverable"

      They may be expensive but those ASIC devices can't do anything *but* mine (specific) digital currencies.

      Just like iPhones can't do anything *but* buy shite off an app-store.

      You might as well crush them all.

    5. Ignazio

      Re: Ecological vandalism

      Except of course the chips can't do anything else.

      All the aluminium, copper, steel needs recycling, and any toxic content, aside from the crypto, is probably leaching into the car park, so there's room for improvement.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    That's what I call

    Blockchain compression.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: That's what I call

      Not lossless, though.

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What about giving the computers to schools for instance? There could be a better use for these devices than being use as a carpet for a roller

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      They don't have anything that's much use for that though, they are dedicated ASIC rigs without even a graphics card output.

      Selling them as export would've been far more sensible.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is NOT how you make laptops.

    This is just vandalism. I would have given some employment to a bunch of locals to take out the GPUs and maybe destroy them in dramatic fashion, and then repurpose the computers.

    1. dinsdale54

      They are bitcoin mining rigs - no gfx card, no generic motherboard. They can't be repurposed for anything other than mining bitcoin.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Ah, it makes sense now.

      The police presumably took the expensive parts out and crushed what was left.

      I assume the good bits will currently be on ebay.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        I wonder if they accept bitcoin as payment?

        :)

      2. LovesTha

        The expensive parts are the bits that mine bitcoin.

  11. sreynolds Silver badge

    Do the chinese still have em?

    Do they still have those mobile execution vans? Probably even Amnesty would look the other way.

    1. sreynolds Silver badge

      Re: Do the chinese still have em?

      Oh, so when the power goes out to the hospitals and people start to die, you are quite happy to allow those that steal for power for greed to get away with this?

  12. es30

    Start with desktops. End with laptops.

    But still not as thin as MacBook Airs.

  13. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Disguise

    I wonder how many of those units were actual mining rigs.

    When they publicly destroy drugs, likely it is just a decoy and the real drugs go back on the market, to preferred gangs.

    1. Spacedinvader
      Holmes

      Re: Disguise

      you sure about that?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLYVTdiACRA

    2. Ignazio

      Re: Disguise

      This is just like all your other unsubstantiated allegations.

      See? That's how you do it, yes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disguise

      @elsergiovolador

      You do dash off don't you. With your imagination you should be writing novels.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disguise

      Always? All of it?

      Sometimes, some of it - of course. Because of temptation/corruption.

  14. Vic Not 20

    Why not...

    ...sell them to recoup costs or donate them to schools? Destroying them just seems wantonly petty and an offence of a different kind.

    1. dharmOS

      Re: Why not...

      Perhaps because the criminals that fund the purchase of the mining rigs and would just take the computers back at gun point from the school later and leave some school kids traumatised…

    2. GrumpenKraut
      Meh

      Re: Why not...

      These are ASIC rigs, they can do nothing but mining.

      But, yeah, hitting just the ASIC chips with a hammer would have done the job without making recycling extra hard. You get no press coverage that way, however.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Why not...

      Sell them to whom? They are single purpose mining rigs, NOT COMPUTERS.

  15. Lunatic Looking For Asylum
    FAIL

    Looks good but probably ineffective

    The drives will probably still be intact and the data read pretty easily. There is no way that a roller could crush aall those PC's flat enough to destroy the inner disks, even if they were running them over one at a time.

    Publicity stunt just about sums it up. Probably a lot of bent coppers using bent disks to carry on the mining :-)

    1. Ignazio

      Re: Looks good but probably ineffective

      Those are not PCs, most likely no disks inside.

    2. GrumpenKraut
      Pirate

      Re: Looks good but probably ineffective

      Very unlikely any data will be recoverable. While it is quite difficult to flatten a hard disk, a steam roller(*) will have no problems. Just note how flat the rigs are afterwards. A hard disk may still be one piece, but the platters will be very much non-flat. For SSDs, a single chip (of several) might survive if it is very lucky, not sure what one would get out of that.

      (*) weight up to 30 tons for not really huge ones.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Looks good but probably ineffective

      "The drives will probably still be intact and the data read pretty easily."

      Assuming they even had hard drives, did you click the image for the larger version of the pic showing the final result? They looked pretty damn flat to me. Even disk-on-a-chip type SSDs quite probably got flattened or crushed by other components or the case being flattened on top of them. It looks like they spent quite a lot more time than the short video clip making sure everything was flattened as much as possible.

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Looks good but probably ineffective

      "Looks good but probably ineffective" Hmm. Like some peoples' brains?

  16. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

    > Police also destroyed three houses that were used by the miners.

    That seems a tad excessive...

    1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge
      Joke

      I dunno, they didn't say that the miners were still in them at the time...

      Less flippantly, if the miners were stealing enough electricity to cause power cuts, the houses may have had some 'interesting' wiring or other features that made them fundamentally unsafe (as far as residential properties go), and it was thus easier/cheaper/safer to demolish them rather than try to make them safe.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Fair point

    2. GrumpenKraut
      Mushroom

      Not sure that is correct. Other news sites reported that the operators of those rigs created fires (yes, plural) courtesy of interesting wiring used way over what was reasonable. They apparently stole electricity worth 1.7 million dollars, that is quite a lot of energy!

  17. chivo243 Silver badge

    should have sold them

    to people with proper permits etc, could have been like a plod auction in the US...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Electricity price

      Malaysia has a sliding scale of electricity pricing, which makes high use uneconomic.

      Power theft for mining is a big and continuing problem

  18. gandalfcn Silver badge

    Then thet stuffed it all into containers and exported it for recycling.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Payback time!

    Put the crims in treadmills with old bike dynamos, until they've replaced all the electicity they stole...

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Payback time!

      Back of the envelope calculation: one person at 200 Watts, cycling 16 hours every day, would need about 6000 years.

      1. Nunyabiznes
        Joke

        Re: Payback time!

        You say that like it is a problem.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crushcoin: Forget proof of work, proof of stake, whatever... go direct to destroyed hardware without wasting all that electricity to get there. Proof of destruction: the green option!

  21. deadlockvictim

    Better mask needed

    The first thought that came to mind is that they needed much, much better masks. There are much worse things for your body in the air once all of the rigs have been pulverised. Breathable metals that body can't rid off? Maybe the Malaysian police ought to take a course on toxicology and what some metals can do to your kidneys.

  22. msobkow Silver badge

    A thief is a thief no matter what they're stealing so every little bit of just desserts is well deserved.

    But I dare say the fines should have been a LOT higher, and should have included seizing their crypto-wallets and contents. (Perhaps it did and that just wasn't mentioned.)

  23. AndyFl

    Would have been nice to remove the PSUs and fans

    Crush the ASIC boards etc - no problem but the fans and PSUs would be useful for a lot of other uses. I assume that wouldn't have made such a good bit of film though.

  24. TRT Silver badge

    I'm sure I saw an Anime version of this...

    on CrunchyRoll.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does this affect the ability of the computers to be recycled?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      As beer mats?

  26. Blackjack Silver badge

    If by some chance over a thousand video cards appeared in the black market in Malaysian at a cheap price, you know were they might have come from.

  27. jasper pepper

    No need to waste all that kit. If they wanted a spectacle they could have put those responsible under the roller.

  28. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Pathetic

    Typical stupid idiot police action, it would be nice if anyone could employ police with brains that arent brand new.

    That equipment could easily have been donated to schools, the poor in other countries etc. Far better even than trying to recycle squashed boxes (which are probably now impossible to recycle at a sensible cost.

    1. jtaylor Bronze badge

      Re: Pathetic

      "That equipment could easily have been donated to schools, the poor in other countries etc."

      On planet Earth, very few schools run bitcoin mining farms.

      And not many poor people have cheap, reliable electricity and good Internet connection in their climate controlled homes. That's really not what being poor is like.

  29. jvf

    expansion

    Awesome. Now, where are some politicians?

  30. GraXXoR

    Cleanup

    Would be doubly delicious if the crims were now alsoresponsible

    For cleaning and recycling the e-waste.

    It does seem a waste, but it’s designed as a spectacle. I can imagine the sphincters of any other illegal miners watching this on the news, tightening a notch…

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Cleanup

      Notched sphincters? Ow!

  31. Cheshire Cat
    Stop

    Nice publicity stunt but...

    ... its a waste of valuable hardware that could easily have been resold and reused. Instead we end up with a load of unrecoverable e-waste.

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