China jails, fines elderly woman for stealing electricity for mining
A 61-year-old woman in China will be spending the next four months in prison after she was convicted of illegal usage of electricity to mine Bitcoin Core (BTC). Tang Qiuping also had to pay a fine as well as pay for the electricity she had used during the crypto mining period.
While mining cryptos is usually associated with young tech savvy people, Qiuping proved to be different. According to a report by The Paper, she had been mining cryptos from January to October 2018. She was arraigned in the Kaiping District People’s Court of Tangshan City, Hebei Province to answer for her crime. According to the prosecutor, she had been stealing electricity the entire time. The 17,277.6 kWh of electricity used over the mining period was reported to be worth 8,984 yuan ($1,300).
The woman was arrested by the authorities last year in October. She reportedly confessed to her crimes. Her family pledged to pay for the electricity she had used, but this didn’t sway the judge’s decision, sentencing her to four months in prison. According to the presiding judge, her actions were illegal and had to be punished as the constitution demands. The court also fined Qiuping 10,000 yuan ($1,440).
She allegedly used four BTC mining rigs in her operation as well as one smartphone. For her efforts, she had made just 6,500 yuan ($940). With the electricity costs having amounted to $1,300, it’s clear she wouldn’t have made any profit from her venture, highlighting the dilemma that crypto miners have found themselves in.
Some have criticized the decision as overly harsh, especially given that the woman confessed and paid for the electricity used. However, this isn’t the first instance of miners getting in trouble after being busted for illegal mining. As we reported a week ago, an Australian government employee could face up to 10 years in prison after being charged with illegal mining at work. Unlike the Chinese woman, the Aussie did make quite a profit from the venture, earning over $6,100.
China hasn’t also been the most crypto-friendly nation. Earlier this month, the country’s economic planning commission labeled the industry as one that needs to be eliminated. This is despite the country housing close to 75% of all mining operations globally.
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