Mentally ill Chinese man ‘lost’ for a year reunited with family thanks to facial recognition technology

Brother of 31-year-old found wandering around railway station ‘grateful’ for sibling’s safe return

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 7:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 2:24pm

A mentally ill Chinese man who was cared for by the authorities for more than a year has finally been reunited with his family after he was identified with the help of facial recognition technology, according to a newspaper report.

The shabbily dressed man was found in January last year wandering in a tunnel at Chongqing railway station. He appeared confused, and when officials asked him where he lived he simply mumbled “money”, Chongqing Evening News reported.

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The man was sent to a hospital for treatment and improved, but still could not say where he came from.

Staff read out the names of all the counties in neighbouring Sichuan province as he had a thick local accent, but still could not confirm where his family came from.

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Officials later contacted a technology company that was piloting a scheme with a local government to use facial recognition technology.

The man’s picture was sent to the firm and after a scan through public records was found to match a 31-year-old from the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan.

The man was later taken to a shelter in the prefecture to meet his brother.

The relative said he was grateful his brother had returned home safely after going missing for more than a year.