Brother honors Twin Cities activist killed in Colombia

Family: Local Hmong activist killed abroad

Family: Local Hmong activist killed abroad

The Hmong community is mourning a local activist who was killed abroad.

Family of 50-year-old Tou Ger Xiong said he was spending the holidays in Colombia when he was kidnapped and murdered. 

Tou Ger travels frequently to Colombia, according to his brother Eh Xiong. 

Eh said he last heard from Tou Ger Sunday night when Tou Ger asked for $2,000 while on his trip in Colombia. Eh said Tou Ger never confirmed if he got the money. 

After hours of silence, Eh decided to call Tou Ger’s friend in Colombia who filed a police report. Tou Ger’s roommate also told Eh that Tou Ger had called him saying he was “held at gunpoint.” Eh made contact with the U.S. Embassy as well as Sen. Tina Smith and Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office. 

On Monday, Eh told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that authorities found Tou Ger’s body and confirmed he was held captive by a group who demanded money for his release and then murdered him.

“They found some clothes, blood, you know, on the bag, and they were able to confiscate that and apprehend one of the suspects,” said Eh.

Among other things, Tou Ger will be remembered as a comedian, motivational speaker, educator and activist. The 50-year-old dedicated his entire life to serving others. 

“He would drive from here to Wisconsin to Milwaukee to Madison to help people, on his own expense. He does that kind of stuff,” said Eh. 

As the family navigates life without Tou Ger, it’s memories of love and laughter that will carry them through their sorrows. 

“It’s kind of funny how I don’t even feel like he’s really gone yet. Right? I feel like at any moment now he could be knocking on the door,” said Eh.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith said, “What happened to Tou Ger is heartbreaking. Archie and I can’t imagine what his family is going through. We’re praying for all of them. My office has 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. 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.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar sent the following statement to KSTP in response to the news:

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy. Tou Ger was an incredible person who was constantly working to uplift his community. My office is in contact with Tou Ger’s family and the embassy in Colombia as they work to bring his body back to Minnesota. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.”