A cliff in a remote mountainous area of China's Yunnan province (file photo).
CNN  — 

Chinese police have arrested a man who was on the run for 17 years after he was spotted by a drone living in a cave in remote mountains, local officers told the state-run China News Service.

Song Jiang, 63, escaped from a labor camp in southwestern China’s Sichuan province in 2002. He was found living in a narrow cave near his hometown in Yongshan county, Yunnan.

Officers were reportedly given a tip about Song’s whereabouts in early September but struggled to search the area because of the difficult terrain. They sent out a drone instead, and eventually spotted his camp. Three teams were deployed and Song was arrested.

According to the China News Service, Song had trouble answering police questions as he had not spoken to anyone for years.

Song was initially imprisoned for abducting and trafficking women and children, according to the local police source, who didn’t elaborate on the circumstances of his crime.