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Priest forgives fraudster for cheating him

Missioner says he knew checks would not be honored

Fr Josef Eugster uses reflexology to treat a young patient Fr Josef Eugster uses reflexology to treat a young patient
  • Francis Kuo, Taitung
  • Taiwan
  • October 9, 2012
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A Swiss Bethlehem missioner was upset when a man was arrested for fraud after presenting him with two large checks that proved to be worthless. But his concern was for the man's health, not the loss of money.

Father Josef Eugster’s assistant Lin Su-fei told ucanews.com that the priest "knew the checks that Chu Tzu-chang gave him could not be honored.”

She added that Fr. Eugster "is very sad that the local media is concerned only about the money and being cheated, and not about the Samaritan spirit."

Fr. Eugster is well known and highly regarded in Taiwan as an expert in reflexology, a medical treatment that aims to cure ailments via foot massage.

According to local media, Chu Tzu-Chang called Fr. Eugster in late September, claiming that he had a brain tumor and wanted to do some good deeds before his death.

He said he had made NT$ 180 million (US$ 6,150,000) from property deals and would like to donate to the Catholic Church through Fr. Eugster to help the underprivileged. Chu then wrote two bad checks totaling NT$80 million and, in return, borrowed NT$100,000 from Fr. Eugster for medication.

Associates of Fr. Eugster heard about this and informed the police. When the priest took Chu to be treated at the Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien on October 2, the police arrested him.

"He kept on meeting Chu and accepted his bad checks even though he knew they were not valid," said Lin, "because he wanted to help pay for the medical treatment of the man and cure him.

“Fr Eugster treasures every life created by God. He thinks that everyone, good or bad, deserves dignity. He even asked his flock to pray for Chu’s health in rosary prayer sessions.”

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