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Arma 3 devs arrested for ‘spying’ on Greek island, face 20 years if guilty

Tuesday, 11th September 2012 11:07 GMT By Dave Cook

Arma 3 developers working for Bohemia Interactive have been arrested on the Greek island of Lemnos for allegedly spying on military bases. The developer has confirmed the incident.

UPDATE 2: Bohemia Interactive has told CVG the developers arrested in Greece will be transported to the Greek island of Lesbos for a preliminary trial on suspicion of espionage. ArmA Executive producer Jan Kunt said the duo hasn’t “been charged yet, but the police is giving the court information about what happened.”

Kunt said the studio has had issues with the Mayor of Lemnos, Antonis Hatzidiamantis, before due to the firm using maps which were “publicly available information.”

Hatzidiamantis was upset due to the area containing “NATO’s second-largest army” with Turkey “next door.”

“You can buy it yourselves. The Turkish army can buy it. It’s not military-grade intel. It’s really nothing more than Google Maps,” he said. “There have been developers on Lemnos before taking detailed photographs of things like dirt, fields and fauna. They take photos of lots of flowers and shrubbery and trees to get the environment accurate. I don’t know where they were caught or what they were doing when they were caught.

“I’m not sure the situation will ease out. The Greeks arrested twelve people taking pictures of planes. Seems like the Greeks have lots of problems and want to focus attention elsewhere.”

The plane spotting incident Kunt referenced happened in 2001, when a group of 12 people were found of spying by the Greek court. Eight were found guilty of espionage while the other six were convicted of aiding and abetting the following year, and yeah after that, 13 of the 14 had their convictions overturned.

UPDATE 1: Eurogamer has now reported that the developers have been confirmed as aged 28 and 33, and were indeed detained as they photographed a military installation on the island of Lemnos. They could face 20 years imprisonment if found guilty of espionage charges.

PC Gamer reports that two staff from the Czech studio have been arrested while on researching duties for Arma 3. The game takes place on the island of Lemnos, but both individuals have been charged with claims of espionage for snapping a military base.

The story was covered by several Greek new sites last night, and Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Spanel confirmed the incident on the studio’s official forum.

Spanel stressed he was keen to avoid discussing the matter further, “at least until we know more specific details about the case”, he said.

Thanks again PC Gamer.

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27 Comments

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  1. unacomn

    They should have just gone to the military base, thrown some quarters, and they’d have the run of the place.

    *drums*

    *crickets*

    Tough crowd.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. KrazyKraut

    ohh shit…hope they get out of this..

    #2 2 years ago
  3. xxJPRACERxx

    What they were thinking!?!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. zinc

    DO NOT take pictures of Greek military bases. They are aggressively camera-shy.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1697862.stm

    Good luck to the Bohemia staff caught up in this :-(

    #4 2 years ago
  5. The_Red

    20 fucking years!? Are you kidding me? WTF is wrong with Greek army? Yes, I know they should have been more cautious and tried more proper channels but seriously…

    The Plane Spotters tragedy (As zinc posted) was bad enough but 20 years? FUCK Those assholes (Not the great people of Greek. Just the government and military people that made such stupid rules and are so crazy when it comes to cameras). Yes, this comment might sound naive or offensive but really, fuck those assholes that put innocents in jail.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. viralshag

    @5, How do you know they’re not really spies…

    It is harsh but at the end of the day, if two non-nationals are going to rock up and take unauthorised pictures of a military base… you’re kinda asking for someone to either say “what the hell are you doing?” or “catch those terrorists!”

    I’m sure this could have been easily avoided, so I think the stupidity lies more with the two devs.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. dex3108

    @6 Yes but why they sending them in jail? If they prove they are game devs Greek court can confiscate their equipment, tell them to pay and forbid them entering in Greece. 20 years of jail is ridiculous.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. KrazyKraut

    maybe they hold them as hostages…for a better EU-Cash-Package..

    #8 2 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @7, I agree that hard jail time is ridiculous but still, you have to take some precautions. If that happened at a British army base and they let the guys go because they said “hey, we’re not spies, we’re games developers, honest!” I would be a little worried at that.

    It might be an honest mix up but really they are in the wrong here, not Greece.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. The_Red

    @6
    I can understand that part and as I said, the devs should have taken a more cautious route but 20 FREAKING YEARS!?

    ReallY?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. HauntaVirus

    omfh…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DrDamn

    @10
    20 years is the maximum sentence for espionage. Unlikely they will get any where near that if convicted.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    @10, 20 years if they’re found guilty. Hopefully, when proven innocent which I am sure they are, then all this will be water under the bridge.

    I’m sure spying and espionage is taken quite seriously by any country, I would like to hope it is anyway. Either way, I’m sure procedures like an investigation and a court case are necessary regardless of whether they are guilty or innocent, they were caught doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. End of.

    It’s really not something to go nuts over.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Uncontested

    At my place of employment we call the police and dispatch our Security team if we see people taking pictures of/scoping out our facilities and we’re a TOURIST destination…

    This day and age sneaking around a military installation and taking video/pictures is libel to get you shot and killed. Just the way the world works now.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. LooneyLad

    Just threat them to leave their broke ass without extra financial aid and problem solved.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    It’s a pretty stupid way to go about it though. I’m sure the Greek armed forces have a press office, why not start there?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. TheWulf

    @9

    Really? Really? I wouldn’t. That’s fucking ridiculous, and borderline scary fascistic. There’s really not much you can tell from outside of a base. So if someone is caught taking pictures and they look like mere civilians, just confiscating their material and giving them a slap on the wrists is perfectly fucking fine in a sane world.

    I’m just glad that you’re not in charge of running the military, anywhere. An uncle on my father’s side is a military man and he’d be disgusted at that kind of thinking. Protecting the country doesn’t mean you need to go police state whenever anyone does something that’s a bit silly.

    I don’t even want to know how 1984 the inside of your head is.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. viralshag

    @17, not only is that a completely OTT response to what was actually said (as per usual I guess), it’s a stupid one too.

    For a start, there’s plenty you can tell from outside of a base such as entrances, exits, building layout, security detail and so on. Secondly, if there isn’t anything you can learn from outside of a base, what would be the point of their research in the first place.

    Lastly, all I have said is this is mostly Greece following procedures. Not exactly fascist, is it?

    #18 2 years ago
  19. manamana

    I really don’t get what they were trying to achieve? Like DSB said, contact the press office and everything will go its way. Maybe they already tried and got rejected, needed the base pictures (for whatever reason) and got the idea of sneaking on to the base. Can’t still not see 20years for them. Oh well, better luck next time.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. UNazo

    It looks like, they forgot to disable the enemy UAV

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Stephany Nunneley

    Another update has been applied to the post.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    I love how everyone is blowing this out of proportion.

    20 years is only the sentence if they’re found guilty of espionage. Which isn’t going to happen. They’ll hold them for a while, find out who they are and why they were there, and be let go with a pretty stern slap on the wrist. That’s it.

    Sneaking around outside a military base without permission is a pretty fucking stupid thing for anyone to do by, no matter what country or decade you’re in.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. viralshag

    @22, you are such a fascist. You make me sick.

    Get out.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. NeoSquall

    C’mon people, this is Greece, not India!
    We can hope the two devs will follow a normal justicial procedure and discharged once it’s confirmed that they’re developers and not turkish spies.

    And kudos to the Mayor of Lemnos, Antonis Hatzidiamantis, for his idiocy in making a fuss because the studio used publicly available maps of the isle for reference.

    If I were Bohemia I’d change the game setting and maybe blow the island to the heavens with a “terrorist nuke”.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Levester

    heh…kunt.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. abcd

    In USA it is illegal to take pictures even inside airports..
    but you all think that it’s ok to take pictures of military bases in other countries and greeks are stupid that arrested them..
    its funny that you dont see who is the real stupid..
    BI were warned about that.. but they didnt need to.. everyone should know that taking pictures of such places is illegal..
    take a camera with you and try to take pictures of a turkish military base.. and then post them here.. dont worry.. if they catch you, tell them “i saw this place in google maps.. it must be legal!”
    also try that in american bases… they propably charge you as a terrorist.. no more human rights.. and go to jail without a trial..
    finally.. there are a lot of signs in Limnos in that places that photographs are prohibited…

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Da Man

    #20 post of the day.

    #27 2 years ago