Activist Killed On Colombia Vacation After Being Abducted During Date
A Minnesota activist and comedian was fatally stabbed during a kidnapping in Colombia on Monday after meeting a woman he connected with online during his vacation.
Tou Ger Xiong, 50, was found dead in a wooded area near an apartment building after being abducted while on a date with the woman, Colombian newspaper El Colombiano reported.
According to the outlet, Xiong arrived in Medellín, Colombia, on Nov. 29 and planned to spend the holiday season with family.
On Sunday, Xiong met with an unidentified woman for a date when he was suddenly kidnapped by several men who held him for ransom, according to the outlet.
Xiong made a call to someone in the United States, later identified as his brother Eh Xiong, at around 7 p.m. from his cellphone, Yiri Amado, director of the Medellín Prosecutor’s Office, told Colombian news outlet El Tiempo.
Tou Ger Xiong told his brother that his captors were asking for $2,000 for his release.
The victim’s brother told local news outlet KSTP that Tou Ger Xiong never confirmed if he got the money. Eh Xiong called his friend in Colombia, who filed a police report.
Eh Xiong later found out from authorities that his brother was murdered.
“They found some clothes, blood, you know, on the bag, and they were able to confiscate that and apprehend one of the suspects,” he told the outlet.
In an email to HuffPost on Monday, Eh Xiong said he is working to bring his brother’s body back home to Minnesota.
In a statement, Sen. Tina Smith (D) of Minnesota described Tou Ger Xiong’s death as “heartbreaking” and said she is trying to figure out what the U.S. can do to seek justice for his family.
“I have been in contact with the State Department since we first learned he was missing and I will work to ensure his remains are safely transported back to Minnesota,” the senator said. “My thoughts are with his family, his friends and the entire Hmong community as they grieve the loss of Tou Ger, and hope they find strength in their memories of him.”
Tou Ger Xiong was a comedian who took part in several social justice organizations and sat on the board of the Hmong American Partnership, according to his website.
“He used his experience as a refugee and aspiring artist to serve his community, teach cultural competency, and bring laughter to every room he stepped in,” the Hmong American Partnership said in a statement. “As a pioneer in Hmong art, he would tell Hmong folk stories, do comedy shows and motivational speeches.”