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5 TikTok stars accused of murder

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Launched back in 2016, TikTok has changed the social media landscape in some significant ways. The short-form video hub has been downloaded more than 3.5 billion times across the world and has a business valuation of more than £50 billion.

A large part of TikTok’s appeal is that it democratises the popularity of content creators. Before these kinds of social media sites, if you wanted to be famous, you had to be approved and promoted by an industry. Fail to impress the music, television or movie impresarios and you stood little chance of achieving celebrity. The invention of social media has changed all that. If your homemade videos appeal to an audience and you continue providing them with engaging content, you can become ‘TikTok famous’ and known across the globe.

Whether or not it was the newfound celeb status that drove them to it, or it’s just what happens when you examine lots of ‘normal people’ under the microscope of fame, plenty of TikTokers are now true crime-famous. Why? Well, a surprising amount have been accused of murder.

1. Mahek Bukhari

24-year-old Mahek Bukhari is a well-known influencer who was charged and found guilty of murder along with her mum in 2023. Saqib Hussain and Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, died after a car crash on the A46 in Leicestershire.

Saqib had previously been in an extramarital relationship with Bukhari’s mum, Ansreen. When the three-year affair ended, he threatened to send compromising videos and photos to her husband to expose that she had been unfaithful.

When the deadly incident occurred, Saqib and Hashim were being chased at over 100mph by an Audi TT and a Seat Leon. A shocking 999 call in which Mr. Hussain is heard pleading was played to the jury in court. They heard Saqib yell: ‘They're right behind… They're hitting into the back of the car very fast! Please I'm begging you, I'm going to die!’ He could then be heard screaming before a loud bang. The two men died after their Skoda ‘virtually split in two’ and caught fire.

Mahekv Bukhari, who has almost 150,000 followers on TikTok, said that she had not intended to hurt Mr. Hussain, just to frighten him.

Two other defendants were also found guilty of murder, while three more were found guilty of manslaughter.

2. Ali Abulaban

Staten Island-born Ali Abulaban built up a following of more than 950,000 followers on TikTok and was also popular on Instagram and YouTube. Under the name ‘JinnKid’ he recorded skits while doing impressions of characters from famous films.

Abulalan’s estranged wife Ana was also quite a successful TikToker who focused her content on beauty and lifestyle. He’s been behind bars since he was arrested in October 2021 for shooting dead his wife and a man in the family home that he’d recently moved out of.

Ali Abulaban will stand trial later this year for the murders of 28-year-old Ana Abulaban and 29-year-old Rayburn Cardenas Barron. He stands accused of planting a bug in the apartment and spying on Ana. On hearing her at home with a man, he allegedly raced over and shot both to death before fleeing in a hurry. He then picked up his daughter from school while still armed and was arrested later that day.

He also stands accused on multiple counts of domestic abuse, but claims he found Ana and Rayburn dead when he arrived at the apartment.

3. Zachary Latham

20-year-old Zachary Latham might not have been a professional TikToker, but when he posted videos of him mocking his neighbour during an ongoing noise dispute, he found himself going viral.

The video has been viewed more than three million times and shows him taunting Tiffany Durham on 6th April 2020. He records the woman and addresses her by a nickname that has become well-known as an insult, saying: ‘You okay, Karen?’ He continues to mock her from his sports car. ‘Three cop cars, all because my car is loud,’ he says as he points to the police cars that turn up in the street.

As the video blew up, the humiliation became too much for the Durham family. A month later an argument between the neighbours escalated into a fight between Zachary Latham and 51-year-old William Durham and his two sons. The fight ended when Latham repeatedly stabbed William.

The three men had stormed Latham’s property, outnumbering him while trespassing. As it turned out, he was charged with reckless manslaughter and was acquitted by a jury in April 2023.

4. Feng Zhengyung

Gan Soujiong, known as 'Fatty Goes to Africa' to his five million-strong fans in China, was a popular street food vlogger until his murder in December 2022. The fatal stabbing was captured on camera.

Soujiong was livestreaming when he was attacked by rival TikToker Feng Zhengyung who was later arrested. The attack took place in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon at the crowded Indra Chowk market in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. The victim suffered stab wounds to his chest and stomach and died in hospital shortly afterwards.

Zhengyung, known as ‘Ayun’ on the app, and Soujiong had a long-running dispute but, until the moment he stabbed Gan in front of a live TikTok audience, there’d been no indication of violence.

5. Jonhtae Collier and Eric Dodds

23-year-old couple Johntae Kavon Collier and Eric Dodds had amassed well over 800,000 followers on TikTok, gaining popularity for their pro-LGBTQ+ content. On 25th August 2022, the young pair were arrested and charged with the murder of 29-year-old Dakota Bradshaw, which they carried out on 1st August.

Bradshaw's neighbours heard gunfire and witnessed two men leaving in a blue Dodge Challenger and a red truck - cars matching those of Collier's and Dodds'. Earlier this year, a jury found both Eric Dodds and Johntae Kavon Collier guilty of felony murder, as well as several other related counts.