Charles Sobhraj Proves Himself Unjailable (Almost)
Charles Sobhraj was known by many names, including "The Bikini Killer," "The Splitting Killer," and the one we'll be focusing on (because it alludes to his ability to slip right out of The Man's grasp), "The Serpent."
A career criminal, Sobhraj made his living traveling from the beaches of Thailand to the "hippy trail" in Nepal, conning cash from tourists, and then strangling, drowning, or setting them on fire, and sometimes all three (Sobhraj is a horrible person, in case we neglected to mention that). Most of his early hijinks were of the petty variety, however -- like in 1970, when he was locked up in relation to a jewelry heist in Bombay. That also marked the first in a string of escapes, when he managed to get himself to a hospital by complaining about abdominal pain, then drugged a guard, and scampered out a window with a nice new (and totally unnecessary) appendectomy scar to show for his efforts.
The escape is over so quickly, but the scar is something you'll always have.
He fled to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was arrested again for failure to pay a hotel bill. This time he cranked the gross-o-meter knob up to 11, using a smuggled syringe to draw his own blood and drink it like some sort of self-loathing Dracula. Taken to the hospital again (where confused doctors probably tried to remove his appendix), he once again drugged a guard and slithered away.
His crime spree roadshow took him all over the Eastern hemisphere from Iran to Greece, where he was again locked up after a robbery. This time he started a fire in the back of a police van and bum-rushed the door when the guards stopped to investigate. This pattern continued until Sobhraj's success at evading confinement began to go to his head -- he started to think of himself as a "Nietzschean character, a criminal Superman."
A "Jean-Claude Van Damn," if you will.
But when the ponytailed bodies began to pile up, international law enforcement stepped in. When Sobhraj was arrested in New Delhi after posing as a tour guide and poisoning a group of French students with "dysentery pills" that gave them violent diarrhea in the lobby of a busy hotel (he was presumably just being a straight-up dick that time), authorities were able to link him to unsolved murders across several countries. Sobhraj was sentenced to 11 years for one murder plus the French pants-shitters, and it looked like The Serpent's jig was up.