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South Korean police arrested more than a dozen people involved in an illegal bitcoin operation that used cheap electricity for industrial complexes
The Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency, a city in the south of the country, revealed details of alleged illegal mining activities undertaken by 14 individuals from 14 companies in four separate industrial complexes in the city. Six companies were located in the Hanam Industrial Complex, three in the Nano Industrial Complex, three in the Pyeongdong Industrial Complex and one in the Jeongok Industrial Complex.
As reported by the Korean Yonhap News Agency, companies operating in industrial complexes enjoy benefits in terms of subsidized rental and electricity costs. Electricity rates, in particular, are 10% cheaper for industrial complex companies, as opposed to companies located elsewhere.
The report states that the police have accused the fourteen companies of illegally exploiting cryptocurrences like bitcoin since May 2017. Each company allegedly installed between 100 and 350 bitcoin minors in their premises of their industrial complexes, which according to the Metropolitan police is in violation of factory rules.
The incident is not the first time that cryptocurrency miners have been accused of illegally benefiting from lower electricity rates in South Korea, a country that is among the largest encryption markets in the world.
A Seoul-based mall took a notable step to ban its own cryptocurrencies mine traders in their stores last year. Citing complaints about energy consumption and ambient temperatures as well as concerns of a fire hazard, Yongsan Electronics Market has decided to ban the activity among its providers who used their own GPUs to extract cryptocurrency.
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