The Greek tax authorities announced that they used surveillance drones to document tax violations on the island of Santorini. The drone operation lasted one day and aimed at collecting evidence indicating that operators of nine tour boats were not giving tax receipts to their customers. The collected evidence revealed 145 tax violations amounting to 25,000 euros in lost revenue. Although some of the investigated boat operators tried to escape after becoming aware of the surveillance activities, they returned back to the port of Santorini. This was the first drone operation of the Greek tax authorities. According to their representative, “the results were excellent.”
Taking into account the success of the operation, we can expect that Greek tax inspectors will launch many similar operations in the near future. The use of drones allows the taxman to get valuable information without putting the life of its officers in risk.
It is worth mentioning that Greek tax officials have been recently assaulted by the owners of a local tavern in Aigio, Peloponnese. One of the attackers was immediately arrested by the police. Not a long time ago, an upset pastry shop owner in Lefkada poured pancake batter over a tax officer. On the island of Patmos, an angry businessman fired in the air and seriously threatened tax officers while they were discussing his fine for tax evasion.
To avoid such incidents, the tax authorities in the Greek capital Athens provide their employees with the opportunity to participate in self-defense classes in order to quickly neutralise aggressive tax evaders. Charalambos Kaltsidis, a coach in wrestling, has been training tax inspectors for at least 4 years. He noted: “We cannot turn 45- or 50-year-old people into Rambos but we teach them how to deal with the situations, to boost their self-confidence.”
Although the use of drones will likely protect the life of tax inspectors, tax evaders may soon start attacking and destroying surveillance drones. There is a large number of online tutorials discussing methods for neutralising rogue drones. Such methods include, but are not limited to, hacking the drones and taking full control over them, disrupting the communication between the drones and their owners, catching drones with special devices that can shoot nets, or using trained eagles who are able to destroy drones within minutes.