Sometimes referred to as ‘The Serpent or ‘The Bikini Killer’, Charles Sobhraj is among the most well-known serial murderers and fraudsters of 20th century.
Asserted to have killed at more than twenty tourists from South East Asia, Sobhraj was a sly predator of victims along the popular routes for backpackers in the region. Incredibly, despite the scale of his crimes Sobhraj did not get caught for a long time. The chase between Sobhraj law enforcement officers ended up cementing his reputation in the media as an ‘Serpent’ the media.
Sobhraj criminal activities got him in trouble however, and He is currently being held for life within Nepal after being found guilty of murder.
Rediscovered in the 2021 BBC The Serpent. Netflix show the Serpent Sobhraj has gained fame in the form of one of the notorious serial murderers in that era of the 20th century. The fascination and curiosity surrounding Sobhraj seem to know the limit of what is possible.
1. He was a troubled child
He was born to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother Sobhraj parents weren’t married and his father was later refused paternity. His mother got married to an officer of the French Army and, even though Charles was a young Charles was adopted by his new husband but he was left feeling marginalized and unwelcomed in their growing family.
The family moved from France as well as South East Asia for most of the time that Sobhraj was growing up. When he was a teenager he began to engage in minor crimes, and was eventually detained in France for burglaries in 1963.
2. It was also a con man
Sobhraj started to earn money through scams, burglaries and trafficking. He was extremely charming, friendly with prison guards and accepting his favors during prison time. Outside, he had connections with a few of the Parisian elite.
It was through his interactions with society elites where he met his eventual spouse, Chantal Compagnon. She remained faithful to him for a couple of years, and even gave him a daughternamed Usha and then deciding she was unable to raise children while living the life of criminals from all over the world. Her return in Paris in 1973 and promised never to be seen again by Sobhraj.
3. He was at most two years in the sands of time
From 1973 to 1975 Sobhraj as well as his other half brother Andre were in the crosshairs of. They traveled through Eastern Europe and the Middle East using a variety of passports stolen, and committed criminal acts that took place in Turkey as well as Greece.
In the end, Andre was caught by the Turkish police (Sobhraj managed to escape) and sent to prison. He was serving an 18-year prison sentence for his crimes.
4. He started swindling tourists in South East Asia
Following the arrest of Andre, Sobhraj went solo. He devised a scheme to trick tourists repeatedly and again, pretending to be an entrepreneur or drug dealer, and earning their trust and their loyalty. In most cases, he would poison tourists with poison to cause symptoms that resembled dysentery or food poisoning and then gave them the opportunity to stay in a hotel.
Finding passports believed to be lost (which were in reality taken by the person who stole them or his accomplices) was one of Sobhraj’s particularities. He was in close contact with an accomplice named Ajay Chowdhury. He was an insignificant crime ring member from India.
5. The first murders he was known to have committed were committed in 1975.
It’s believed that Sobhraj started his murder rampage after the victims of his fraud threatened to expose the fraudster. In the last quarter this year he’d killed at least seven young travellers, including Teresa Knowlton, Vitali Hakim, Henk Bintanja, Cocky Hemker, Charmayne Carrou, Laurent Carriere and Connie Jo Bronzich and was assisted by his lover, Marie-Andree leclerc, as well as Chowdury.
The crimes varied in their style and nature and the victims weren’t all related and their bodies were discovered in various places. Therefore, they weren’t identified by investigators or believed to be related with any manner. It’s not clear the number of murders committed by Sobhraj all in all however, it’s believed to be between 12 and 25 and no more than 25.
6. The gang made use of the passports of their victims to travel
To escape Thailand and remain unnoticed, Sobhraj and Leclerc left with their passports the passports of two of their most recent victims. They landed in Nepal where they committed their two final murders of the year and leaving before their bodies could be identified. confirmed.
Sobhraj continued to make use of their passports in order to travel around the country, evading authorities several times more as they did.
7. He was arrested numerous times before being found guilty.
Thai authorities had seized and interrogated Sobhraj and his associates in the early months of 1976, however, with no concrete evidence and a amount of pressure to not create negative publicity or harm the boom in tourism They were freed without charges. An Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, later found evidence that could have been a snare to Sobhraj. This included documents, passports of victims, and poisons.
8. He was eventually found by New Delhi in 1976
At the end of 1976, Sobhraj had started working with two women, Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather. They were tour guides to the group of French students from New Delhi, who fell for the scam.
Sobhraj gave them poison disguised as anti-dysentery medication. It was more effective than anticipated and resulted in some students becoming unconscious. Others noticed, and overpowered Sobhraj and gave him to the police. Sobhraj was later accused of murder together Smith and Eather. Smith and Eather The three were incarcerated at New Delhi awaiting trial.
9. Prison was not enough to stop him from achieving his goals.
Sobhraj has been sentenced for 12 years of prison. Unexpectedly, he was able to sneak precious stones in with him, so that his guards that he would be bribed and remain in jail for a long time There are reports that he had TV in his cell.
He was also permitted to interview journalists while incarcerated. Additionally, he sold rights to his account in the form of a book to Random House. Following the publication of the book after numerous interviews with Sobhraj He denied the transaction and denied the book’s material as purely fictional.
10. He was nabbed by Nepal in 2003 and convicted for murder a second time.
After serving his sentence in Tihar the New Delhi’s prison Sobhraj was freed in 1997, and returned to France with great acclaim from the media. He gave numerous interviews and was reported to have bought the rights for the film on his personal life.
In a brash and unpredictably bold decision In an inexplicably bold move, he returned to Nepal in 2003, and was still wanted on murder charges in 2003. He was arrested after being recognized. Sobhraj stated that he’s not visited India before.
He was found guilty for two murders in the murder of Laurent Carriere and Connie Jo Bronzich more than twenty-five years following the incident. Despite many appeals, he is still in prison until the present day. His famed personality is just as powerful as ever however, and in 2010, He married his interpreter of 20 years while still in prison.