Villagers Mistake Google Driver for Government Spy

They let him go after he swears before Buddha statue

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 16, 2013 9:08 AM CDT
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(Newser) – The hazards of driving around in one of those Google mapping cars: When residents of a remote village in Thailand saw the weird-looking vehicle with a camera on top tooling around, they blocked its path and hauled out the driver for questioning, reports the Bangkok Post. Was he a sneaky government agent surveying for a dam they oppose? They finally believed he worked for Google only after he swore before a statue of Buddha inside a temple, reports AP.

"(We) apologize to the official, to Google, as well as to the Thai people throughout the nation and to the citizens of the world," wrote the villagers afterward (on Facebook). "There had been so many repeated cases that convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise." Google isn't upset: The company "sometimes encounters unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception," says a spokesman. And thus the village of Sa-eab will be mapped, with Buddha's blessing. (In other spy-related news, a tale of 1970s CIA spying has come to light.)

File photo of a Google Street View car.
File photo of a Google Street View car.   (AP Photo/Google, file)
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