Error puts Chinese tourist in German migrant hostel
A Chinese tourist spent nearly two weeks in a German migrant hostel after mistakenly applying for asylum when he actually wanted to report a theft.
German media say the 31-year-old backpacker, who spoke neither German nor English, underwent a medical check and his fingerprints were taken.
A Red Cross worker later found out that the man's wallet had been stolen in Stuttgart. But instead of going to the police the man registered as a migrant.
A Mandarin speaker solved the puzzle.
The translator was found at a Chinese restaurant near the migrant hostel where the tourist was staying, in Duelmen, near the west German city of Dortmund.
In early July the tourist arrived at the hostel on a bus with migrants, from Dortmund.
"He was so different from the others. Very, very helpless," said Red Cross worker Christoph Schluetermann.
A translation app confirmed Mr Schluetermann's suspicions that the tourist had got entangled in the asylum system by mistake.
"It came up with phrases like 'I want to go on a trip abroad'," he said. It emerged that the tourist had plans to visit Italy and France.
The man, from northern China, had calmly allowed the authorities to take away his passport and visa, and take his fingerprints.
He then had a medical check and was given the standard papers that migrants get on arrival in Germany. He had meals at the migrant hostel and received some spending money.
Mr Schluetermann said hostel staff made futile calls to various consulates, hoping to identify the tourist. An error over the man's visa caused further delay.
Finally his asylum application was stopped and he was able to continue his European tour.
According to German broadcaster WDR, the man did not get angry but left Germany saying simply that he had imagined Europe to be quite different.