A Chinese tourist who lost his wallet in Germany signed the wrong paperwork and ended up being placed in a refugee home.

Christoph Schluetermann, an official with the German Red Cross, which runs the home, told news agency dpa on Monday that the man "set machinery in motion that he couldn't get out of."

The unidentified man's troubles started in early July when he lost his wallet after arriving in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart. Officials have figured out that, instead of going to police to file a stolen goods report, he somehow ended up at an authority that presented him with an asylum application.

From there, he was sent to Dortmund in northwestern Germany and on to the refugee home in Duelmen. "He simply did what he was told," Schluetermann said.

Schluetermann said he quickly noticed the man because "he was different from the others — very, very helpless."

With help from a translation app and then from a translator at a Chinese restaurant, it became clear that the man wanted to travel on to France and Italy, not seek asylum.

It took German officials 12 days to put the story together and send the 31-year-old tourist on his way, Schluetermann said.