The Serpent on BBC One

The Serpent on BBC One: Is Charles Sobhraj still alive and where is he now?

The killer wreaked a trail of havoc in the 70s

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The Serpent on BBC One is a brand new, eight-part drama currently airing on Sundays at 9pm.

It stars French actor Tahir Rahim as Charles Sobhraj – a serial killer who terrorised backpackers in south-east Asia in the 70s.

It also stars Jenna Coleman as his accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc.

It’s been over 40 years since the murderer wreaked havoc. So where is he now?

Charles Sobhraj killed up to 12 people
Charles Sobhraj (Tahir Rahim) in The Serpent (Credit: BBC)

Read more: The Serpent: What happened to Monique – Marie-Andrée Leclerc – played by Jenna Coleman?

The Serpent on BBC One

The new, 70s-set drama tells the story of serial killer Charles and the hunt for him across the region.

He was a master of disguise and deception, and often escaped the clutches of the police.

Charles evaded capture for years in three different continents.

The Serpent follows Herman Knippenberg – a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok – as he attempts to bring him to justice.

Charles Sobhraj in the 1980s
Charles Sobhraj always courted publicity (Credit: YouTube)

Read more: The Serpent BBC One: Five burning questions we have ahead of episode two

Who was Charles Sobhraj and how many people did he kill?

Charles was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1944.

Police nicknamed him the Bikini Killer, the Serpent or the Splitting Killer.

Charles ended up in jail as a teenager after a string of petty crimes.

After his release, he zipped between high society Paris and the criminal underworld, where he began to steal and deal drugs.

He escaped France and went to Thailand, where he began his murder spree – targeting tourists, ‘beatniks’ and ‘hippies’.

He killed at least 12 people.

The Serpent tells the story of Charles Sobhraj
Charles Sobhraj poisoned many of his victims (Credit: BBC)

How did he kill his victims?

Sobhraj was not picky or did not have a modus operandi, typical to a lot of serial killers.

He did poison many of his victims to incapacitate them.

Then he strangled, drowned or stabbed his victims, before burning then to destroy evidence.

Where is killer Charles Sobhraj now?
Charles is still in prison (Credit: YouTube)

Where is Charles Sobhraj now?

He’s still in prison.

Charles was caught in New Delhi, India, in July 1976.

He slipped up after an attempt to drug a group of travellers failed.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in India.

Thanks to his charm, he bribed many prison officers and enjoyed a life of luxury.

Released in 1997 after his warrants mysteriously disappeared, he returned to Paris.

However, after courting publicity, he was re-arrested in Nepal and sentenced to another life term.

How old is Charles Sobhraj?

Charles is now 76 years old and not in the best of health.

In 2018, he underwent multiple open-heart surgeries.

He will have more ops in the future, according to reports.

Why was he called The Serpent?

Charles was best known as the Bikini Killer due to the attire of his victims.

Many of his victims, including American Teresa Knowlton, were found dead in their bikinis.

He was also called the Splitting Killer and the Serpent, due to his cunning deception and evasion.

Also because of his infuriating ability to ‘slither’ away from the police.

The Serpent airs on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. All episodes are available to watch on iPlayer.

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