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International Criminal Enjoys Celebrity Status
Charles Sobhraj in love and film
Kishor Panthi (kishor)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-24 15:16 (KST)   
International criminal Charles Sobhraj, who is 64 years old, is in love with a 20-year-old St. Mary's student, Nihita Thapa, the daughter of a well-connected senior Nepali Lawyer, Shakultala Thapa.

Arrested in 2003 at a casino in Kathmandu, Sobhraj, who earned the nickname "the bikini killer," is accused of killing more than 20 young Western backpackers across Asia, usually by drugging them, in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Of late, Sobhraj has been seen frolicking with young Thapa, who brings him food. Thapa is the progeny of a Bengali from Kolkata, India, and a successful Nepali career woman; similarly, Sobhraj is the son of a Sindhi (Indian) tailor and a Vietnamese mother. Thapa and Sobhraj have exchanged rings and are engaged.

Sobhraj is confident that his appeal against the "guilty" verdict will be overturned by Nepal's Supreme Court and that he will be released this year. In the event that does happen, the lovers are planning a Hindu ceremony in Kathmandu, to be followed by a legal ceremony in Paris, France. Sobhraj is a French national.

Sobhraj is fond of publicity and celebrity status. He has made headlines many times: by killing people, by escaping from tough jails, such as Tihad of Delhi, by selling his story for $15 million, by reentering Nepal and getting arrested, and by getting engaged to Sobhraj.

Sobhraj also earned the nickname "the serpent" for his ability to give police the slip. He is a master of disguise who has escaped from various jails around the world.

In 1975, Thailand issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of drugging and killing six women, all wearing bikinis, on a beach at Pattaya. But he was jailed in India before he could stand trial on those charges.

In the mid-1980s, while serving a 20-year sentence in India, he escaped from prison, but was caught and returned to jail. In 1997 he was released. In July 2004, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Nepal for murdering two tourists, an American and a Canadian, in Kathmandu in 1975.

Bollywood is making a movie about Sobhraj, who will be portrayed by star actor Sanjay Dutt. Titled "Charles and I," the film is about two men -- one who kills and cons people for pleasure and the glory of being world famous and the other who will stop at nothing to bring the killer down. Sobhraj is depicted as a complex character -- a charming man with a dangerous mind and dangerous intentions.

The film will be shot in Turkey, France, India and Australia, and may be released next year.

Sobhraj married a French woman in 1969. However, she filed for divorce when he was arrested in India in the '70s, and on May 17, 1974, the French Tribunal of Nanterre granted the divorce. (His ex-wife married an American and had a daughter by him a year later.)

The details of Sobhraj's life are examined in two books about him: Serpentine by Thomas Thompson and The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj by Richard Neville and Julie Clarke.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Kishor Panthi

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