A Chinese tourist who tried to report a stolen wallet during a visit to Germany unwittingly signed an asylum application that got him stranded as a refugee for two weeks in the country's burgeoning asylum bureaucracy, Reuters reported.
The well-dressed 31-year-old, known as Mr L., spoke only Mandarin. German authorities only discovered their mistake after turning in desperation to a local Chinese restaurant to interpret for them, a Red Cross official said on Monday.
"He didn't speak any German or English — only Mandarin," Christoph Schluetermann, head of a Red Cross refugee center in the northern town of Duelmen, told Reuters after the man from Beijing was released to resume his tour of Europe.
It all began when he was robbed in the tourist town of Heidelberg. Mr. L. went to city hall, which he thought was a police station, where he signed an asylum application.