0 min left

Chinese Tourist Accidentally Applies for Asylum in Germany

Some weird trip: The man, known only as Mr. L, spoke only Mandarin, and had unwittingly signed papers that declared his attention to seek asylum in Germany.

In a strange case of mistaken identity, a Chinese tourist ended up in a German refugee center after he unknowingly registered as an asylum seeker while attempting to report a stolen wallet in the town of Heidelberg.

The saga began last month when the 31-year-old, who is known only as Mr. L, turned up to report the robbery at Heidelberg’s city hall, which he mistook for the local police station.

It was there, Reuters reports, that he signed an application for asylum. After making his declaration, the man was then transported 220 miles away to a Red Cross center in Duelman, a city near the Dutch border.

The well-dressed traveler, who spoke only Mandarin, was then fingerprinted, given a medical examination as well as food, spending money and accommodation.

However, his appearance and behavior soon caught the attention of center staff.

Christoph Schluetermann, head of the Red Cross center in Duelman, told the news agency that, “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.”

Staff initially tried various translation apps to communicate with Mr. L, but these attempts failed. The Red Cross team then turned to a local Chinese restaurant for help and it was through these efforts that the man’s story finally emerged.

“It was an extraordinary moment for us all. He said Europe was not what he had expected. What would you expect if you had come to Europe as a tourist and spent 12 days sleeping on a camping bed in a refugee center?,” Schluetermann said.

“He spent 12 days trapped in our bureaucratic jungle because we couldn’t communicate,” he added, explaining that red tape within the country has only increased as a result of the refugee crisis.

The man, Schluetermann said, was happy to finally be released from the center and was eventually able to continue his onward travels.

Update: Since this story broke, the city council of Heidelberg has released a statement clarifying that the police have no record of the man having been robbed in the city, and that it is impossible to apply for asylum at Heidelberg town hall.

[Photo: Washington Post]

Comments are Closed.
payam81 August 12, 2016

“He said Europe was not what he had expected.” Wait till you go to France. lol

Red259 August 10, 2016

This just made me laugh. "He said Europe was not what he had expected." No doubt.

HNL1K August 10, 2016

I love it, too hahahaha

papermakerSC August 10, 2016

ha ha. welcome to germany, have a nice day. as a german native: I LOVE THIS STORY!!!