Charles Sobhraj first went to jail for burglary in 1963. That began a life of crime that ranged from prison escape to extortion to murder across a large part of the world. He committed crimes in Thailand, France, India, Nepal, and Malaysia. Sobhraj even murdered a couple of Americans. He was known as the Bikini Killer.
Sobhraj had earned that nickname, along with “Serpent,” in the 1970s after committing two dozen murders followed by audacious prison escapes. He was a media obsession, one he fed with his flamboyant lifestyle even when behind bars, which included conjugal visits from fans and weekend parties allowed by prison staffers. On the outside, Sobhraj often posed as a drug dealer, befriending tourists and then killing them once their guard was down. According to Ananta Raj Luitel, co-author of Charles Sobhraj: Crime and Punishment, Sobhraj often seduced his victims — a few of whom were clad in bikinis when their bodies were found, thus his moniker — before killing them.
The 1986 escape from a prison in Tihar, India, was not Sobhraj’s only escape, but it involved a cat, and so makes an interesting story as an introduction to this world-renowned murderer.