Doctors are being spoken of as if they were wanted terrorists on Greek television these days.

The naming and shaming this week of 68 high-earning medical professionals for not paying their taxes is the latest show of determination by the Greek government, in its quest to prove it can dismantle a culture of tax-dodging that has helped bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy and undermined the rest of the euro zone.

In the Kolonaki suburb of Athens, a government audit uncovered cases where doctors had never issued a single receipt or recorded any patients' visits. The worst offenders, some of whom had declared an annual income as low as €3,000, now face massive fines and even criminal charges. Some have had their bank accounts frozen on suspicion that they owe money to the state. "The attitude that you do not pay taxes is what has brought the country to its knees," prime minister George Papandreou said as he announced the move which is partly designed to appease public anger at the perception that Greece's richest classes are escaping the tough economic medicine.

But the medical profession have reacted angrily. "The shaming of whole groups or professional classes is not right," dental surgeon Stratis Papazoglou said. "This creates hatred in society. In all professions, unfortunately, there are those who avoid paying their taxes. The government should try to instill in people a respect for justice and a sense of equality before the law and not target single professional groups."

Vasileios Pagkalos, a plastic surgeon who has relocated to Israel, however, admitted: "Tax-dodgers are ruining everyone's reputation. The controls are too severe but they need to set an example". According to Transparency International, the un­recorded or "black" economy in Greece could be worth a staggering 40% of the country's GDP. This would mean projected tax revenues of €54bn for the fiscal year 2010 should be €21bn higher and significantly help the government fill its empty coffers.

The tax authorities have also declared war on the owners of "undeclared" swimming pools.

Using Google Earth, finance ministry officials surveyed the wealthy northern Athens suburb of Ekali and were able to identify 425 villas with pools. But only 170 homeowners had legally declared their pool.