Chinese Tourist Mistakenly Lands in German Refugee Camp

By Bridget O'Donnell, August 9, 2016

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A 31-year-old Chinese tourist accidentally wound up in a German refugee camp for 12 days after trying to report his stolen wallet.

The traveler, a Beijing resident, found himself at a home for refugees after attempting to report his missing wallet in Heidelberg, Reuters reports. Thinking he was at a police station instead of city hall, he unwittingly signed an application for asylum.

The unidentified tourist — who didn't speak any English or German — was then placed in a shelter in Duelman and given food and shelter along with other refugees.

"He didn't speak any German or English — only Mandarin," said Christoph Schluetermann, head of a Red Cross refugee center in Deulmen. "He spent 12 days trapped in our bureaucratic jungle because we couldn't communicate. Germany is unfortunately an extremely bureaucratic country. Especially during the refugee crisis I've seen how much red tape we have."

The tourist was fingerprinted and given a medical exam — standard procedures in Germany, which let in over 1.1 million migrants and refugees last year. 

But officials were suspicious due to how well he was dressed. Schluetermann also said he exhibited strange behaviors:

"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."

According to a Red Cross Official, authorities only realized their mistake after visiting a Chinese restaurant to help translate. 

"It was an extraordinary moment for us all, " said Schluetermann. "He said Europe was not what he had expected."

[Image via Daily Mail]

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