Minnesota comedian-activist killed in Colombia after meeting chatmate

Minnesota comedian-activist killed in Colombia after meeting chatmate
via Tou Ger Xiong / Facebook
Carl Samson
December 14, 2023
A Hmong American comedian and activist based in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been murdered in Colombia after being kidnapped for ransom, according to reports.
What happened: Tou Ger Xiong, 50, arrived in the city of Medellin on Nov. 29. He reportedly went out to meet a woman he had been chatting with on Dec. 10. Hours later, he called a friend in the U.S. to inform her that he had been kidnapped, with his captors demanding $2,000 for his release. Tragically, he was found dead the next day.
What authorities are doing: Colombian authorities are investigating the case, which marked the third time an American tourist was murdered in the South American country in the last month. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said it is providing “all appropriate assistance” to Xiong’s family, as per AP News.
What his family is saying: Xiong’s brother Eh said the comedian frequently traveled to Colombia. Speaking to KARE 11, Eh said his brother had also asked him over the phone for $2,000 but did not provide details.
Authorities later confirmed that Xiong was held captive and that someone was arrested. “They found some clothes, blood, you know, on the bag, and they were able to confiscate that and apprehend one of the suspects,” Eh told KSTP.
What’s next: Loved ones and those who had known Xiong describe him as a trailblazing Hmong American who dedicated his life to serve others. His family is now working to bring his body back home, and they are planning to build a foundation in his name to honor his legacy.
“He really helped people to feel welcome and included. And he bridged generations, but he also bridged communities across culture,” Bo Thao-Urabe, a lifelong friend, told CBS Minnesota. “And never did it in a way where he was preachy, you know, he just engaged people in dialogue, no matter how hard the topic. And really encouraged people to be the best that they can be.”
The big picture: Over 250 people have reportedly been kidnapped for extortion in Colombia this year. In 2022, another Asian American man, Paul Nguyen, was killed and robbed in Medellin after going out with a Tinder date.
 
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