Who is Charles Sobhraj and where is he now? – The SunJanuary 1, 2021
Charles Sobhraj – otherwise known as the Bikini Killer – preyed upon and murdered Western tourists in Asia in the 1970s.
A conman who earned the chilling nickname The Serpent, he gained infamy for his successful escapes from high-security prisons. But where is he now?
Who is Charles Sobhraj?
Born in Vietnam in 1944, Sobhraj spent most of his childhood on the tough streets of Saigon after his dad deserted him and his mum.
After she married a French officer, he split his time between Indochina and France.
Sobhraj embarked on a life of crime in Europe in the 1960s and was twice arrested in Paris for auto theft.
He married a Parisian woman named Chantal Compagnon and the pair bounced around Europe on a crime spreee of robbery and smuggling.
In 1973, he escaped prison where he was being held for armed robbery and fled to Kabul.
The couple soon began targeting tourists on the "hippie trail" in Kabul but Chantal left him and Sobhraj eventually hooked up with his mistress and accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc.
Living a life on the run with stolen passports and a series of different identities, Sobhraj's crimes became more serious.
Where is Charles Sobhraj now?
Five years later, Sobhraj was seen in a street of Kathmandu by a journalist who reported him to police.
He was arrested two days later and charged with a string of murders.
He is currently serving a life sentence in Nepal for two murders.
What were the Bikini Killings?
In 1976, sadistic Sobhraj befriended and then killed ten travellers on the hippie trail through Thailand, Nepal and India.
The murderer would drug his victims then drive them out to the countryside where he would brutally kill them.
Sobhraj's favourite method was to make his victims ill – using anything from diarrhoea-inducing pills to itching powder – and then he would strangle them, mutilate them with a knife or shoot them. Then he would disfigure their corpses.
His killing spree continued until cocky Sobhraj drugged 60 French tourists in a Delhi hotel to steal their passports and money but mixed up the doses.
The French people were instantly sick and suffered uncontrollable diarrhoea in the lobby of the Vikram Hotel and police were called and the killer arrested.
Sobhraj is believed to have murdered up to 24 people.
Who were his victims?
In October 1975, Sobhraj killed an American tourist, Teresa Knowlton, in his Delhi flat and had a sidekick dump her body.
A Turkish drug rival Vitali Hakim was later beaten, his neck snapped, his corpse doused with gasoline and set alight.
In Bangkok, Charles strangled Stephanie Parry. A month later, still in Bangkok, he strangled Dutch tourists Cornelia Hemker and Henricus Bitanja on December 16, and later burnt their bodies.
Shortly before Christmas, Canadian Laurent Carriere and American Connie Bronzick were found dead in Katmandu, their bodies also burned.
The killer continued across Asia, murdering Israeli Allen Jacobs for his passport at Varanasi, in northern India.
In Bombay, Sobhraj murdered French tourist Jean-Luc Solomon.
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