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Dog the Bounty Hunter

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Dog the Bounty Hunter
He once spent time in a Texas prison and is now a born again Christian who has become the world's most famous bounty hunter, having captured over 6000 criminals in the last 27 years. Duane Chapman, star of hit reality show Dog the Bounty Hunter, is back with a new series and the release of his tell-all book You Can Run But You Can't Hide. Digital Spy talks to him about his passion for catching criminals, the case that has just been dropped against him in Mexico and the possibility of being immortalised on the big screen.

What made you decide to become a bounty hunter in the first place?
"To tell you that would take me twenty minutes! When I was a child I liked watching shows about bounty hunters and Canadian 'mounties'. I liked the Lone Ranger, I liked shows where the guy saved the girl from the villain. I just liked those kinds of things and I wanted to be a guy like that, you know, that would save the damsel in distress."

Do you think it was your time in prison that has made you so passionate about making America a safer place?
"I think so. I [realised] you don't have to be as mean to people. You don't have to beat people and treat them like they're different. So I think I showed the cops how to do it differently, that 'you can do it like this and be successful' and feel good about your job."

Some of the people that you have captured reads like a who's who of the most wanted people. What's the one you're most proud of?
"We will never be far away from Andrew Luster. That is the one that took us the longest and cost us the most money. That is the guy with 86 counts of rape. Not thirty, not twenty, not fifty - 86."

As you mentioned the Andrew Luster case against you - Dog was arrested last year for bounty hunting, which is illegal in Mexico, and was facing being put in prison - was dropped in Mexico last month. What's the situation now?
"Mexico dropped charges after they looked at the case. I am so proud of Mexico. Listen - after 30 years of being out of prison and being a good guy, all of a sudden I was faced with going to prison [again]. I did it right. I didn't go in there and drag him across the state line. We went in there with eight Mexican police officers and took him to the police department. Mexico doesn't like criminals, Mexico is a good country."

Do you think that bounty hunters should continue to exist?
"Abraham Lincoln is the one who started this, it's one of the oldest American laws. You guys (in the UK) have the right to arrest citizens, to arrest the same as we do, but you guys don't do this. When I started there were three, today there are 8500 (bounty hunters) thirty years later. It's quite exciting, it will always be here, it will always be in America, I'm sure."

You married Beth last year - what's married life been like?
"Well I was with her on and off for 16 years and [now we're married] she's bossier. She tries to tell me it's the same but between you and I it's not. I feel like I literally kind of own her now, being with her and living with her. I feel better when I go to sleep. What if I died in my sleep and God would say, 'now you know that in the Bible you were supposed to be married, so you're going to sweep the floor here for a thousand years'? So I feel better about going to sleep, the kids having a married father and mother. I feel better about it... but she is bossier."

Is it important to you that your children and wife can get involved in what you do?
"I try not to bring her but I'll come home with these crazy stories and she'll go 'no, no, really?' And then she'll be wanting to go. I want the kids there because they've always been around me. I want them protected, I want to know where they're at."

The Fast and the Furious writer Gary Scott Thompson is rumoured to want to make a movie about you - is there any truth in it or is it something you'd like to be done?
"Has he said that?"

It's a rumour.
"I met Garry Scott Thompson years ago. As a matter of fact I think I ate dinner with him. That is very good news because he is one of the coolest guys I have ever met. I would be very proud to work with him."

Can we expect anything new from the latest series... is it similar to the previous ones?
"Well it's different because we have different releases now. The basis of the show is us getting a mug shot, chasing down the criminal, trying to give him a good piece of advice and then going after the next one. There's a lot more guns - I hate to say it - more violence, which is terrible, but they're fighting back harder. We're going after more guys for 20-30 year sentences now instead of five because you can get out in two, two and a half. In America they don't really mean it when they say five. So it's more violent and they've seen a lot of my tricks so I've learnt new ones now. The other day I knocked with a 'der der der der der, der der' and the guy knew it was me. I didn't realise... I use the same knock every time so I'm developing an old dog, new tricks sort of thing."

Duane Chapman's book You Can Run But You Can't Hide is out now. The new series of Dog the Bounty Hunter can be seen on Bravo, while the series plays from the start on Virgin 1.

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