Chinese tourist loses wallet and becomes refugee by mistake

Man becomes 'refugee' after wallet stolen on holiday in Germany

Updated: 
Chinese tourist loses wallet and becomes refugee by mistake

A Chinese tourist accidentally ended up in a refugee shelter after losing his wallet on holiday in Germany.

The tourist, 31, from Beijing, ended up spending over a week in a refugee home in Dulmen, before German Red Cross (DRK) worker Christoph Schluetermann spotted the mistake.

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He said the man was well dressed and looked different to the other migrants.

According to the Guardian, Christoph explained: "But he [also] acted so differently to other refugees, He kept trying to talk to people to tell his story but no one could understand him. He kept asking to get his passport back, which is the opposite of what most refugees do."

At first he struggled to communicate as he did not speak German or English.

Christoph used a translator app on his phone, and confirmed his suspicions the man was actually a tourist.

According to the BBC, Christoph said: "It came up with phrases like 'I want to go on a trip abroad'", and it emerged the tourist wanted to travel to Italy and France.

According to The Local, he added: "I spoke into the app in German and the phone translated it into Mandarin. But when I received his reply, I got the curious response 'I want to go walking in Italy'".

The strange incident began in Heidelberg, almost 400 km to the south of Dülmen in Baden-Württemberg, when he realised his wallet was missing.

Instead of signing a stolen item complaint at the local police station, he went to the town hall and signed an asylum application by accident.

As he was waiting for his complaint to be filed, little did he realise he was being processed as a refugee.

His passport was taken away and was transported 300km to Dusseldorf, before being taken another 100km to Dulmen.

He let authorities take his fingerprints, carry out a medical check and accepted pocket money at the camp.

After the DRK realised the mistake, the asylum application was cancelled and the man was able to continue his holiday, setting off for southern Europe.

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