You can run, but you cannot hide — at least, not from a police drone.

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 and reported by CNN.

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, CNN reported.

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 it spotted a blue-coloured steel tile on a steep cliff as well as traces of household rubbish nearby.

Three teams were deployed to locate the camp and Song was arrested, CNN reported.

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.

He has been sent back to jail, officials said.

Police did not provide any information on how the man survived so many years in a cave and what type of food he survived on.

The location of fugitive Song Jiang’s cave, in Yunnan, as found by a police drone. Credit: Yonghsan police.