A former inmate now employed as a security guard has sent a NT$10,000 (US$343) check to the local head of an association dedicated to helping former prisoners as a sign of gratitude.
Hsu Tsung-yueh (許宗約), a 42-year-old resident of Keelung, said he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2007 for drug dealing and had to leave behind his wife and two children.
Soon after he entered prison, his father passed away and his brother, who was helping his family, was hospitalized, Hsu said.
During this difficult time, he met Tsai Yi-fang (蔡宜芳), head of the Taiwan After-Care Association’s Keelung branch, who visited the prison to talk about the services the association provides, Hsu said.
Hsu wrote a letter to Tsai, saying that his family was in dire straits and his wife needed help finding a job.
Tsai not only helped Hsu’s wife find work at a clothing store and gave the family NT$2,000 in cash, she also assisted him in finding a lawyer to represent him in an inheritance lawsuit.
Hsu said that hearing about family troubles while in prison was very distressing, but reading the Bible and singing hymns calmed him down, and aided him on the path to reform.
Hsu completed his sentence and was released from prison late last year.
He was soon approached by his former associates, who offered him NT$2 million to go back to drug dealing, Hsu said.
“That was quite a temptation because I was getting turned down left and right by legitimate employers,” he said.
“My faith helped me reject the temptation,” he said, adding that he is very grateful that Wude Real Properties later hired him as a security guard.
When asked for comments, Tsai said she has worked for 10 years at the association and had on occasion given away money from her personal funds.
Aside from money, she had also sent Hsu many books, she said.
Usually, she receives thank-you notes and letters from ex-convicts, but Hsu was the first to send her a check.
“I am glad to help ex-convicts and I am not looking for things in return,” Tsai said.
“Hsu did write many times that he would return the money, but I did not expect him to send me a sum much larger than what I had given,” she said.
Tsai said she would return the money to Hsu and hopes that he would use it to help his family or other people who need it more than she does.
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