Fugitive on run for 17 years found living in cave by a drone

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Fugitive arrested by policeImage source, Yongshan Police
Image caption,
After 17 years, the fugitive was tracked down by a drone

Chinese police have arrested a fugitive who'd been on the run for 17 years, after they used drones to spot his cave hideout.

The 63-year old, named Song Jiang by the police, had been jailed for trafficking women and children but escaped from a prison camp in 2002.

He had been living in a tiny cave cut off from human interaction for years.

Yongshan police received clues about Song's whereabouts in early September, they said on their WeChat account.

Those clues led them to the mountains behind his hometown in Yunnan province in south-west China.

Image source, Yongshan Police
Image caption,
Drones spotted the cave on a steep hillside

After regular searches failed to find anything, authorities sent additional drones to help the officers.

The drones eventually spotted a blue-coloured steel tile on a steep cliff as well as traces of household rubbish nearby.

Police then moved in on foot and found Song in a small cave where he'd been hiding for years.

According to the police, the man had been living in seclusion for so long that it was difficult for him to communicate with the officers.

State media said Song had used plastic bottles to get drinking water from a river, and branches of trees to make fire.

He has been sent back to jail.

Image source, Yongshan Police
Image caption,
The inside of the cave was about 2 sq metres (21.5 sq feet)