French Serial Killer 'The Serpent' Has Been Freed At Age 78 & He Says He Has 'A Lot To Do'

His victims were from Canada and the U.S.

Charles Sobhraj is shown on a flight from Nepal to France in this image from a video interview.
Senior Editor

Charles Sobhraj is shown on a flight from Nepal to France in this image from a video interview.

Convicted murderer Charles Sobhraj, who is believed to have preyed on tourists in Asia during the 1970s and went by nicknames such as "The Serpent" and "The Bikini Killer," is back in France after nearly two decades behind bars.

Sobhraj, 78, flew home on a commercial flight next to some uncomfortable-looking passengers last week, AFP photos show. He was released from a prison in Nepal a few days ago after serving 19 years of a double-life sentence for murder, Reuters reports.

"I feel great," he told the AFP during his flight home. "I have a lot to do. I have to sue a lot of people, including the state of Nepal," he said.

He added that he doesn't think he deserves the title of serial killer.

Sobhraj, who is a French citizen, was convicted in 2004 of killing American Connie Jo Bronzich and Canadian Laurent Carriere in Nepal in 1975, the Associated Press reports. He had been serving two life sentences for those murders, but Nepal decided to let him go for health reasons and good behaviour. Nepal's life sentences last 20 years.

The AP reports that Sobhraj has admitted to killing several tourists in the past. He is thought to have killed at least 15 people along Asia's so-called "Hippie Trail" through Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong over the 1970s and '80s.

Sobhraj has been arrested and tried multiple times in the countries where his alleged killings occurred, but Nepal was the only country ever to convict him of murder. He was also previously found guilty of theft on multiple occasions, although he escaped custody a few times over the years.

In one case, he used a drug-laced cake to dupe his guards and get away.

Sobhraj's lawyer told the AP that the murder case against him was "fabricated," although the conviction was not overturned.

In addition to the two backpackers, Sobhraj is suspected of killing at least six women at a beach in Thailand, although he was arrested in India before Thai police could catch up with him. Indian officials held him for allegedly poisoning a bunch of French tourists in 1976.

Police dubbed him the "Serpent" because he became well-known for escaping them back in the 1970s, according to reports. Others called him the "Bikini Killer" because he was said to often target young women.

If all of this sounds like a Netflix series, that's because it is; Netflix and BBC made a drama series about his alleged killings in 2021.

French director Jean-Charles Deniau, who is working on a film and a book about Sobhraj, says the guy is doing "well" with his newfound freedom and getting treatment for his health issues.

"He has medicines," he told the AP. "He will live in Paris, and a little bit everywhere."

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Food & Drink and Lifestyle teams with a focus on entertainment interviews. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.