SONG, THAILAND: Villagers in Thailand have apologised for forcing a Google street view camerman to swear on the Buddha that he was not a spy.

Deeprom Phongphon was stopped by villagers as he drove through in a marked Google car with a camera attached to a turret.

Locals in the remote Ban Sa-iap village, in Song district of the northern province, thought he was a government snoop.

They suspected him of being sent by the government to conduct a survey for a controversial dam project that has stirred local opposition.

Villagers surrounded the man’s car, questioned him and then took him to Wat Don Chai in the village to swear in front of a statue of Buddha that he was not a spy.

Devout locals said the man would face bad luck within a week if he lied in front of the Buddha’s image.

“Villagers apologised to Google for the misunderstanding that he came to survey the area to build the dam,” said a statement posted on the Facebook page for locals opposing the Kaeng Suea Ten dam. Acknowledging the incident, a Google spokesman said the company “sometimes encounters unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception”.–ON