Google Streetview driver is forcefully stopped by villagers in Thailand, forced to swear by Buddha


Google Maps Streetview driver, Deeprom Phongphon, had a scary experience in Thailand recently. While traveling through a village area, a mob accosted him, believing he was a government agent sent to collect information for plans to build a dam. This dam project came under fire from environmental activists and villagers alike, hence the reason why they were so up in arms when they saw this weird looking Streetview car passing through their humble abode.

We understand approximately 20 villagers surrounded Deeprom Phongphon and the Google Streetview car. During this time, they battered him with questions regarding the reasons for him driving around in their community in a car with a massive camera on top. Phongphon proceeded to tell the truth, however; it wasn’t enough as he was forced to swear on Buddha’s statue.

According to villagers in a statement to the Associated Press, they were “extremely worried and there had been so many repeated cases that convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise.” Later, however, the villagers issued a public apology for behaving the way they did with the Streetview car driver.

One has to wonder, did no one at any given time see the Google name and logo on the car? Then again, when people are angry, they tend to do stupid things without giving a rational thought to the matter at hand. Or maybe the villagers don’t know what Google is. Regardless, we’re happy Mr. Phongphon is alright and in a good state of mind after such a scary ordeal. Now get back out there and make Google Maps more awesome than it already is, good sir.

[via ABC News, image via Wikimedia Commons]

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  • Tony

    Kudo for modifying the title (even w/o accepting wrong)
    I did not spell out/counterargument because I respect you and because I thought you are smart . Please do not expose your true self further…stick to what you know best.

  • Ashraf

    [@Tony] “Learn to be humble” is a bit ironic coming from you, don’t you think?

    That said, you completely ignored what I said, and didn’t respond with a counterargument; you are simply using emotion to argue your case. This typically happens when people know they are wrong and have nothing else to say.

  • Switch-kun

    Thailand… that country censors pretty much everything when it comes to cartoons and anime. Hate to live in that country.

  • Tony

    @ Ashraf,
    May be my English is not as good as yours, but saying PRAISING and SWEARING have the same meaning is beyond my understanding!, trying to distort the fact to suit your claim is not honorable (eg. giving a general definition of swearing)…In this context, they did not believe him that why they asked him to swear by Buddha, they did not ask him to praise to worship, to glorify Buddha. This is my suggestion to you Vamien and Ashraf…stick to the facts and try not to give out judgmental comments ! own up your mistakes and learn to be humble… mr BOSS

  • Ashraf

    [@Mike] Good point. That is a possibility.

  • Mike

    And so, the villagers stopped a car, believing that it was the government sent to impose a dam on them and ruin their lives? Good for them! Oh, and they ignored the fact that the car had a Google sticker on it? Yeah, right–a government wouldn’t do something like that to get through . . . .

  • Ashraf

    [@Tony] Contradictory and misleading? Not even close.

    No where did Vamien call the villagers stupid or unrational. He made a comment about people, in general, behaving irrationally when angry, plus a comment about the villagers not knowing what Google is (which is possible, if they don’t have regular access to the internet… you know, like in a village).

    And “swearing on Buddha’s statue” is, for the purposes of a headline, the same thing as praising Buddha. Don’t believe me? Look up the definition of swearing and you will find this: “To make a solemn declaration, invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing, in confirmation of and witness to the honesty or truth of such a declaration.” When you swear by something or someone, you are giving it/them a certain level of importance… which is akin to praising. However, I will modify the title slightly.

    That said, it sounds to me like you need to relax.

  • Tony

    This is a contradictory and misleading article:
    “…forced to praise Buddha” on the title then he “…was forced to swear on Buddha’s statue”.
    Don’t you know that these two things are entirely different? and the author went on and on saying
    the villagers are stupid and unrational…if they were unrational they would beat the driver up… and can you trust YOUR own govt.?!
    Do you have a beef with the Thais people? or Budda?