Chinese fugitive on run for 17 years finally caught in tiny cave in mountains thanks to drone

A Chinese fugitive on the run for 17 years was finally found by police thanks to a drone scouring mountains behind his hometown.

Song Jiang, 63, escaped from Liangshan Yi Prefecture in southern China in March 2002, when he began his sentence for “abducting and selling women and children”.

Despite repeated attempts from police to find him, Jiang managed to evade manhunts until officers obtained clues in early September.

These clues led them to mountains in Yongshan County – roughly 230 kilometres from the prison - where they believed he may have been travelling to and from between his hometown of Daxing Town.

The view from the drone as it zoomed into the suspicious area. Credit: Yongshan Police/WeChat

Initial searches were unsuccessful and police turned to technology to step up their renewed hunt.

On September 19 – and after a five-hour, low-altitude flight among the hills – officers spotted a blue tile on a steep cliff with what appeared to be rubbish outside a cave.

What officers found in the cave. Credit: Yongshan Police/WeChat

An hour’s hike later, police had surrounded the small cave measuring just two square metres and found the “unkempt face” of Jiang.

Officers grabbed hold of the fugitive as he shouted and took him back to prison after he confessed to his breakout nearly two decades previously.

Song Jiang lived a life of seclusion, according to police. Credit: Yongshan Police/WeChat

According to Youngshan Police, Jiang had not bathed in some time or washed his clothes.

He would collect water with plastic bottles from the ravine and lived a life of seclusion, which police say had impacted his ability to communicate effectively.

Song Jiang was finally caught and returned to prison by hiking officials. Credit: Yongshan Police/WeChat