An Australian man who had been living in Medellin for less than a year was found dead outside Colombia’s second largest city, local media reported.
The lifeless body of the 49-year-old man, identified as Anthony Hasselbach, was found in a rural part of the municipality of Santo Domingo with two gun shot wounds in the head.
According to local media, the Australian arrived in Santo Domingo with a group of people on Wednesday for a fishing trip.
The body was found on Friday with the victim’s identity papers and watch, which has led the Antioquia Police Department to assume the Australian was assassinated and not killed in a botched robbery.
“We are investigating the motives of his death,” said Colonel Giovanni Buitrago, who added that the most probable reason is the victim was the member of a “sex tourism ring,” according to news website Minuto 30.
However, according to national news network Caracol, the victim had become a member of the local gay community since his arrival in Medellin where he resided in Poblado, a neighborhood popular among “first-world” immigrants.
According to the victim’s Facebook page, he was also engaged in real estate while newspaper El Colombiano said Hasselbach was a farmer.
According to Interpol Australia, the man had a criminal record in his home country for the possession of drugs, assault and fraud, news website Pulzo reported.
Medellin has seen a sharp rise in homicides of foreigners this year, in some cases allegedly related to the victims’ sex tourism operations, which are frowned upon by locals and immigrants alike.
Hasselbach is at least the fourth foreign resident of Medellin to be assassinated so far this year and the second victim to be explicitly accused of facilitating sex tourism.
The city’s increase in tourism has also spurred an increase of sex tourists who are attracted by the city’s massive sex industry and cheap prostitution.
The Medellin government has long ignored the problem, but has recently began operations to curb sex tourism without upsetting the local sex industry.