Tou Ger Xiong, a well-respected comedian and activist within the Hmong community in Minnesota, was tragically murdered in Colombia this week. Xiong, known for his humor and wit, was a frequent visitor to the South American country, where he had developed a network of friends and acquaintances.
Before his untimely death, Xiong had shared images on his Facebook page of himself dining at a Korean restaurant in Medellin with a red-haired woman, who he referred to as his girlfriend. The pair were seen enjoying a meal together on October 20, with Xiong sharing a video of his beef soup and his companion, who sported a distinctive “Never Give Up” tattoo on her neck. Employees at the restaurant confirmed the couple had dined there recently.
However, it is not yet clear if this woman is connected to Xiong’s disappearance and subsequent death. In a chilling Facebook post last summer, Xiong, flanked by two women, humorously captioned the photo, “In the event I get kidnapped, don’t look for me. I am happy.”
Xiong had returned to Medellin earlier this month with plans to meet a woman he had been communicating with online. The identity of this woman, who is suspected to have played a role in his kidnapping, has not been disclosed by the police. However, authorities have confirmed her arrest after examining recent photos on Xiong’s phone.
On December 10, Xiong contacted his roommate in Colombia, revealing that he had been kidnapped at gunpoint by a group of men demanding a $2,000 ransom. Unfortunately, the ransom was never paid, and Xiong was later discovered in a ravine, having succumbed to multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.
Xiong’s brother, Eh, shared that his brother had been in touch with a woman several times before their planned date. Despite being aware of the recent increase in tourist kidnappings in Colombia, Xiong never felt unsafe visiting the country, which he considered his second home.
Born in Laos in 1973, Xiong was a beloved figure in his community, using his platform to address racial discrimination and promote cultural competency. His death has left the community in Woodbury, Minnesota, where he resided, in shock. His family is currently working with Colombian law enforcement to investigate the crime and repatriate his body.
In one of his final Facebook posts, Xiong shared a poignant message about the importance of self-love, forgiveness, and compassion, a testament to his positive outlook on life.