Charles Sobhraj, a convicted killer who police believe murdered more than 20 western backpackers on the “hippie trail” through Asia in the 1970s and 1980s, arrived in France on Saturday after nearly two decades behind bars in Nepal, BFM TV reported.
Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the release of Sobhraj, known as the “bikini killer” in Thailand, and ‘The Serpent” for his evasion of police, earlier this week on health grounds.
A lawyer for Sobhraj in France did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He had been held in a high-security prison in Nepal since 2003, when he was arrested on charges of murdering American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975. He was later found guilty of killing Bronzich’s Canadian friend, Laurent Carriere, and had served 19 years out of a 20-year sentence.
Sobhraj told French news agency AFP on the flight out of Nepal that he was not guilty of murdering Bronzich and Carriere and that the case against him was built on fake documents.
“I have a lot to do. I have to sue a lot of people,” AFP quoted Sobhraj as saying.
Associates have previously described Sobhraj, 78, as a con artist, a seducer, a robber and a murderer.
In 2021, the BBC and Netflix (NFLX.O) produced a drama series based on the story of Sobhraj’s alleged killings.