Google Street View Driver Detained by Thai Villagers, Made to Swear Benevolence on Buddha Statue
Google’s Street View seems to always be in the news – but mostly for the bizarre things that it captures on camera. We’re talking some dude with a lampshade on his head, a messy breakup, people doin’ it, and quite possibly the gates of hell.
This time, it’s a Google Street View car (and driver) itself that’s wrapped up in a wacky story.
The scene: Northern Thailand, in the Sa-eab village in Phrae province. The cast: About 20 angry villagers and one likely terrified, or at least slightly annoyed Google driver.
According to the AP, the gang of Thai villagers fell suspicious of the Google Street View car and its driver, thinking that it was part of a surveying mission for a dam project – a dam project that the Thai villagers were none too thrilled by.
They apparently stopped the Street View car and detained the driver. They also, and I kid you not, “made him swear on a statue of Buddha that he was not working for the dam project.”
The mix-up only lasted for a short time, and the Google driver was eventually released. A representative for the village released the following statement:
(We) apologize to the official, to Google, as well as to the Thai people throughout the nation and to the citizens of the world.
It looks like they’re taking the incident pretty seriously. I don’t know if I buy the dam story, however. I’m thinking the residents of that specific Thai village had been reading up on Google’s shady European data-gathering practices. Either way, there are definite risks in venturing to faraway places for the sake of expanding the world’s collective knowledge. And I guess having to swear to Buddha that’s you’re just a lowly Google driver is one of those risks.