Charles Sobhraj (born 6 April 1944), also known as the Bikini Killer, is a French thief, fraudster and serial killer. He preyed on Western tourists throughout Southeast Asia during the 1970s. He was nicknamed The Splitting Killer and The Serpent.
Sobhraj allegedly committed at least a dozen murders. He was convicted and jailed in India from 1976 to 1997. After his release, he retired as a celebrity in Paris. In 2003 he returned to Nepal, where he was arrested and tried. In 2005 Sobhraj received a sentence of life imprisonment.
In 2007 news media reported that Sobhraj’s lawyer had appealed to the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, for intervention with Nepal. In 2008 Sobhraj announced his engagement to a Nepali woman, Nihita Biswas. The authenticity of the couple’s relationship was confirmed in an open letter from American conductor David Woodard to The Himalayan Times.
Sobhraj is widely believed to be a psychopath. He enjoyed the attention, charging large amounts of money for interviews and movie rights. He has been the subject of four books and three documentaries. Sobhraj’s return to Nepal, where he was still eagerly sought by authorities, is believed to be the result of him wanting attention.
In 2003, journalist and writer Tom Vater travelled to Kathmandu in hunt for stories. While there he had an opportunity to interview The Serpent.
In this conversation at the Patpong Museum, Bangkok, Thailand, Vater talks about meeting the serial killer face to face.
Watch my talk here.