London - A Chinese backpacker who tried to report to police that his wallet had been stolen was locked up in a centre for refugees by mistake.
The 31-year-old tourist was looking for a police station in Stuttgart, southern Germany, but ended up at a municipal office that handles asylum applications.
The man, who speaks neither German nor English, was handed a form which he signed without realising it was an application for asylum.
His passport was taken away and he was sent to a shelter for refugees in Dortmund, where he was held for nearly two weeks. German media said the tourist had his fingerprints taken and underwent a medical examination without protest. He even accepted pocket money.
Staff eventually noticed that the man was unusually well-dressed for an asylum seeker and, fearing a mistake had been made, sought help at a local Chinese restaurant.
Using a Mandarin translation app, they found that the man did not need asylum but wanted to continue his European walking tour. He has now set off for France and Italy.