The 58-year-old conman, jewel thief, drug dealer and murderer had arrived in Kathmandu on September 1 on a French passport and checked into the Garden Hotel in the Naya Bazaar area. On the night of September 19, he was arrested at the Royal Casino in the Yak Yeti Hotel following reports in local newspapers about his presence in the city. But Sobhraj had reason to be optimistic about his release after the interrogation. After all, even the police seemed befuddled initially about which law he should be tried under. Besides, Sobhraj, a Vietnamese-Indian who's now a French national, was well aware of Nepal's poor record-keeping system for past crimes and court cases.
But the best-laid schemes of mice 'n men.... Sobhraj's fortunes changed for the worse within a day. A retired inspector of police who had interrogated him way back in December 1975 called up Nepal's largest circulated daily, Kantipur, to give a blow-by-blow account of what had transpired 28 years ago. Bishwal Lal Shrestha said he had interrogated Sobhraj twice within 24 hours of two mysterious murders in Kathmandu—on December 21 and again on December 23, 1975. Connie Jo Bronzich, a US national, was killed on December 21 and his body thrown in the desolate Sanga Pass, about 25 km from Kathmandu. Two days later, a Canadian woman, Laurent Ormond Carrierre, met the same fate. In both cases, the killer had mutilated the victims' faces. The modus operandi seemed typically Sobhraj. Some authorities believe his victims include over 20 European and American tourists, most of whom had journeyed to the Far East and the Indian subcontinent in the 1970s in search of drugs and nirvana.