American Abducted and Murdered in South America – Photos Posted Before Death May Hold Critical Details

American Abducted and Murdered in South America – Photos Posted Before Death May Hold Critical Details

CORRECTION, Dec. 19, 2023: Tou Ger Xiong was slain in Colombia, and the murder was reported in El Colombiano. An earlier version of this article misidentified the country and the newspaper.

Colombian authorities have arrested an unidentified woman in connection with the Dec. 10 kidnapping and subsequent murder of an Asian-American activist and comedian.

Tou Ger Xiong of the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburb of Woodbury, frequently visited the South American country and may have been lured by the woman into being abducted by a group of men demanding $2,000 in ransom, according to Fox News.

His stabbed, bludgeoned body was found in La Corcovada near Medellin. He reportedly had been dropped 60 feet.

Xiong, 50, liked to a post on social media pictures of himself with beautiful women in Colombia.

There’s no reported link between the women whose pictures he posted and the woman arrested, although police say they were led to her by photos on Xiong’s phone, according to the New York Post.

Xiong had communicated with what the Post described as a “mystery woman” prior to his most recent trip to Colombia. They were planning to meet for a date, according to his brother, Eh.

“He had been in contact with this woman before and she was part of the ‘new friends’ he made on his trips down there,” according to Eh Xiong.

On the evening of Dec. 10, Xiong phoned an American friend to say he had been kidnapped at gunpoint and the kidnappers demanded the $2,000 ransom, which totaled 8 million Colombian pesos, according to El Colombiano, a Colombian newspaper.

By the next day, the local prosecutor’s office had determined that the kidnappers had received no money and that Xiong had been murdered. Authorities were investigating whether his killing was linked to an escape attempt, El Colombiano reported.

Born in Laos in 1973, Xiong and his family of the ethnic Hmong people had fled the 1975 communist takeover, ending up in a refugee camp in Thailand for four years. The family then came to the St. Paul area, which has the largest U.S. population of the Southeastern Asian Hmong, according to NBC News.

Xiong attempted to provide education about Hmong culture, and had 20,000 followers on Facebook, Fox News said. NBC described him as “a comedian, entertainer, storyteller and social justice activist.”

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said Xiong “was one of the funniest and most sincere people I’ve ever met.

“A community leader, accomplished storyteller and comedian, the first Hmong rapper, and an absolute karaoke master in any genre of music,” the mayor said in Wednesday posts.

There have been at least 253 ransom-based kidnappings in Colombia, NBC said, with two American tourists besides Xiong murdered in the past month.

Eh Xiong said his brother, who loved to travel and post about it on social media, was aware of Colombian kidnappings “But he’s one of those people who only assumes the best in people.”

Tou Ger Xiong considered Colombia “almost like a second home,” his brother said, according to the New York Post.

The kidnapping and death should remind travelers to be aware of their surroundings and cautious of whom they meet.

So in Colombia or Mexico, be careful. And, while Latin American-style kidnappings seem rare, sadly, there are growing areas of Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and Philadelphia, where the same cautions apply.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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