For cases in which the defendant's whereabouts are unknown, at the time of filing, the court shall not impulsively assume the plaintiff is missing. The court shall carry out an investigation and verification, such as making a record of the defendant's close relatives for them to testify to confirm further whether the defendant's whereabouts are unknown.
If the defendant's whereabouts are indeed unknown, the court shall also make a public announcement and product a verdict in absentia, following the law to avoid lengthy delays in the case. The court may also require the plaintiff to sign a guarantee.
The People's Court should handle them cautiously to protect the defendant's legitimate rights and interests. If the address of the defendant provided by the plaintiff cannot be reached, the plaintiff will be required to provide other address of the defendant or the address and contact information of the defendant's close relatives to get information about the whereabouts of the defendant from the defendant's close relatives. Moreover, the court shall do further investigation and visit the relatives if necessary. The plaintiff may be required to provide written evidence, issued by the public security organ or other relevant authorities to prove the whereabouts of the defendant. If the whereabouts information of the defendant is indeed unknown, after all reasonable means of service have been exhausted, the court may, per the provisions of article 217 of the Interpretation of the Civil Procedure Law, publicly serve the litigation documents and make decisions.