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Charles Sobhraj, known as "the Serpent": the macabre itinerary of a serial killer


Born to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother, Charles Sobhraj made friends with tourists in Asia, before drugging and murdering them.

Who was Charles Sobhraj, known as "The Serpent"?

The 78-year-old Frenchman arrived in France this morning, after spending twenty years in Nepalese jails for the murder of two tourists.

The man is suspected of twenty murders, committed in the 1970s in Asia.

His macabre fate inspired a series broadcast on Netflix.

Crook past

Born in Saigon on April 6, 1944 to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother, Charles Gurmukh Sobhraj inherited French nationality following his mother's remarriage to a French soldier.

In 1963, he began a career as an international crook which took him to Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Read alsoFrench serial killer Charles Sobhraj, known as “the Serpent”, has arrived in Paris

In 1970, Sobhraj moved to India with his wife Chantal Compagnon.

Their daughter Madhu was born there on November 15.

Arrested the following year for the robbery of a jewelry store, he fled the country after being released on bail.

Arrested in Greece in 1973, he managed to escape.

"Bikini Killer"

In 1975, he landed in Thailand with the Canadian Marie-Andrée Leclerc, his new companion and accomplice.

Based in Bangkok, under the name of Alain Gautier, he hosts passing tourists and claims to be a dealer in precious stones.

In October, the body of a young woman was found on a beach in Pattaya, wearing a bikini.

Other victims will follow, beaten, strangled or burned.

The one who will be nicknamed the "

Bikini killer

" uses the passports of his victims for his travels, apparently related to his trafficking in precious stones or drugs.

He succeeds in fleeing the kingdom.

Read alsoTahar Rahim in the skin of a monster in the Netflix series The Serpent

In July 1976, he was arrested in India after trying to drug a group of twenty French tourists in a hotel.

He is accused of the murder of another French tourist, Luc Salomon, found poisoned in a hotel in Bombay.

He was convicted in 1978 for this murder but the court decision was overturned two years later by the Supreme Court.

In May 1982, he was sentenced to life in prison for the 1976 murder of an Israeli tourist, Alan Jacob, but acquitted on appeal the following year for lack of evidence.

Convicted elsewhere, he is kept in prison.

More than 20 years in Indian jails

At the end of 1985, India decided to extradite him to Thailand, which demanded him in particular for the murders of a Turkish tourist and a young American, Teresa Knowlton.

He faces the death penalty.

To escape this extradition, Sobhraj escaped in March 1986 after having offered his guards sweets and cakes mixed with sleeping pills.

After 22 days of a vast manhunt, he was arrested in a restaurant in Goa (western India).

The escape of the criminal - accused of at least fifteen murders in ten countries - leads to new prosecutions and drags out the extradition procedure.

When he was released in 1997 from Indian jails where he spent more than 20 years, his alleged crimes were time-barred in Thailand.

Prison in Nepal in 2004

Charles Sobrahj returned free to France where he lived until 2003. Then he returned to Nepal to set up a business exporting shawls under a false identity.

Quickly recognized and arrested in Kathmandu for the murders in 1975 of two North American tourists, he was sentenced to life in August 2004. On December 21, 2022, the Nepalese courts ordered his release for health reasons and his deportation to France.

Saturday, December 24, he lands in France.

During the flight, he claimed to be "


" of the crimes with which he was charged.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-12-24

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