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Bangkok in the 1970's


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I was wondering if there are any TV members who visited Bangkok in the 1970'?  Netflix is now streaming "The Serpent".  It is the story of Charles Sobhrag who lured, drugged, robbed and often killed foreigners in Thailand and in other parts of SE Asia.  This show offers a glimpse into the lives and deaths of foreigner(especially backpackers) in Bangkok.  The show was filmed in Thailand(Bangkok and Hua Hin).  I was mostly wondering if this show offers a realistic portrayal of Bangkok in the mid 1970's.   

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On 4/3/2021 at 3:39 PM, sqwakvfr said:

I was mostly wondering if this show offers a realistic portrayal of Bangkok in the mid 1970's.   

If it's not a documentary it can be guaranteed that it's not 100% accurate and is exaggerated for dramatic effect.

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In the seventies, ( from 1975 for me ) , one of the" big  hotel "for backpapers was the " Thai song greet hotel ", I stayed there every time I came to Bangkok; maybe this guy " The Serpent " stayed ' there sometimes, too  ; the other one was the " Malaysia " 

 

Thai Song Greet Hotel - Bangkok (mgnewman.com)

Edited by Aforek
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The actor playing Charles Sobhraj in the series portrayed the character in such a way that in almost every scene he sat there in his dark glasses overtly exuding menace and danger like some kind of Bond villain. Bizarrely the other characters seemed not to notice.
Anyone in real life coming within range of a character like that would have immediately sensed something odd and kept their distance. Hard to believe he was like that in real life as he sought to ensnare his victims by gaining their trust.

Edited by katana
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Now I see why he was called "the snake."

https://www.oxygen.com/true-crime-buzz/where-is-suspected-serial-killer-charles-sobhraj-now

 

Quote

Investigators have estimated that Sobhraj killed between 12 and 20 people, The Los Angeles Times reports. In his interviews with Neville and Clark, he initially admitted to at least 12 killings between 1972 and 1976, though he later recanted, CNN reports. He claimed to have committed his first murder in 1972 by killing a taxi driver while in Pakistan. While he was never charged with the murder, he was behind bars in various countries at least five times for lower level offenses before he was officially suspected of murder. He also escaped jail at least four times, according to CNN. He escaped an Afghanistan jail for robbery by faking illness and drugging guards in 1972. He escaped an India prison a year later by again faking illness. Then, in 1975, he escaped incarceration by setting fire to a prison van.

 

His first murder charge came in 1976 when Sobhraj was caught in New Delhi drugging students, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was charged with both robbery and the murders of an Israeli man, Alan Aaron Jacobs, in Varanasi and a French tourist in New Delhi. He was found guilty of both robbery and murder, but the murder convictions were later overturned on appeal. He was incarcerated from 1976 to 1997, during which time he was apparently treated like royalty. He was given multiple cells and privileges, according to journalist Alan Dawson, who interviewed Sobhraj in 1984. He also managed to briefly escape prison again in 1986 by drugging guards with laced fruit, claiming it was his birthday.

 

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On 4/15/2021 at 5:36 PM, katana said:

The actor playing Charles Sobhraj in the series portrayed the character in such a way that in almost every scene he sat there in his dark glasses overtly exuding menace and danger like some kind of Bond villain. Bizarrely the other characters seemed not to notice.

Exactly what I thought. One-dimensional and occasionally tiresome. Obviously, the man himself had a disarming charm and charisma to win the confidence of his victims.

Edited by Why Me
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11 minutes ago, Why Me said:

Exactly what I thought. One-dimensional and occasionally tiresome. Obviously, the man himself had a disarming charm and charisma to win the confidence of his victims.

 

I'm guessing he used drugs to win over his victims much more than charisma....

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He was known as the "Bikini Killer" in Thailand not The Serpent. Some of the murders were actually committed in Pattaya. His Indian partner was disposed of by him in Malasia, his body has never been found.

 

Although the police in Thailand had more than enough evidence to convict him , he evaded the courts by distributing the usual brown envelopes at quite a high level. Quelle surprise!

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1 hour ago, Yellowtail said:

 

I'm guessing he used drugs to win over his victims much more than charisma....

He seemed to make friends first, win their trust and find out what they owned. Man definitely had more than just a menacing smirk and a powder in his pocket.

 

And I don't know if the part about Suda is an embellishment or not. But if it is true then that is a testament to a gifted loverboy. For a foreigner to seduce a hiso Thai gal is not easy at all:-)

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9 hours ago, Why Me said:

He seemed to make friends first, win their trust and find out what they owned. Man definitely had more than just a menacing smirk and a powder in his pocket.

 

And I don't know if the part about Suda is an embellishment or not. But if it is true then that is a testament to a gifted loverboy. For a foreigner to seduce a hiso Thai gal is not easy at all:-)

 

I don't doubt he had the gift of gab, but (apparently) the kids he was targeting were for the most part druggies. When people are involved with drugs they come in contact with and tend to "trust" people that have drugs the they would otherwise not.  

 

While I enjoyed the series, I have little faith that it is at all accurate beyond the basic facts. Notice the transition of the apartment building they lived in. It seemed to go from party central to an old folks home a few weeks after they moved out. 

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On 4/12/2021 at 4:51 PM, Filer said:

Overall, in my view, a very good attempt to recreate the feel of 1970s Bangkok

 

I agree.As good as have been reasonably expected.Unlike many such series a great deal of effort has been given to getting the period feel.

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Reading on the making of the movie it turns out that 50% had to be filmed in the UK due to covid. Maybe that's the reason for the plot having to jump forwards and backwards in time which I disliked.

Surprisingly most of the filming in Thailand was done in Hua Hin.

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I stayed in an apartment monthly in bangkok that was just like this movie in the 70's. Name was Sanctuary House Bangkok. It was a whole floor of a shophouse. Like living in that time period.

 

It was called the 'old spice' apartment.

Edited by DerbyDan
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On 4/6/2021 at 12:44 PM, Aforek said:

In the seventies, ( from 1975 for me ) , one of the" big  hotel "for backpapers was the " Thai song greet hotel ", I stayed there every time I came to Bangkok; maybe this guy " The Serpent " stayed ' there sometimes, too  ; the other one was the " Malaysia " 

 

Thai Song Greet Hotel - Bangkok (mgnewman.com)

fabulous link, really paints a picture............ brief extract.......'making coffee using a great long filter that looked like an old gym sock'......................this hotel reminds me of the Miami hotel in BKK, stayed there in '91, all echoey, high ceilings, terrazzo floors cheap with quintessential rude Thai/Chinese receptionist, great times

 

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On 4/6/2021 at 3:17 PM, Excel said:

they did look happy and smiled always,

You will find that to a great extent out in the villages... much less stress and not a busy lifestyle.

 

I was first here in 1974 - Bangkok had more of a small town feel to it... lots more canals and less traffic... slower pace of life... lovely place.

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1 hour ago, 1FinickyOne said:

I stayed in the Malaysia for $1 a night in 1974... after travelling overland through Turkey, Iran Afghanistan, <deleted>, India... to all of a sudden have clean sheets and towels, running water, hot water showers and attendants on the hall.. WOW... it was heaven...

 

I was totally charmed and in many of the same ways, still am. 

Two years ago, I was in a hotel in Aranyaprathet, which must have had a glorious time many years ago, it has kept a charm of past splendor, there may have also been soldiers then tourists coming or going to Cambodia

 

coming me too from Turkey, Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, India, arriving in Thailand was a shock: cleaner, less poor, the women more "free", really a breath of freshness

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23 hours ago, Toosetinmyways said:

Reading on the making of the movie it turns out that 50% had to be filmed in the UK due to covid. Maybe that's the reason for the plot having to jump forwards and backwards in time which I disliked.

Surprisingly most of the filming in Thailand was done in Hua Hin.

The Dutchmans house may have been there but the Kanit house was all filmed on Suk soi 4, now demolished. They also used a restaurant on soi 31 and the Atlanta Hotel on soi 2

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was in Hawaii in 79, gap year. First night in cheap Honolulu hotel. I'd traveled quite a bit in Mexico especially considering my young age.

 

At the pool drinking beer with two shady characters headed to... BANGKOK.

 

While I was living my dream headed out to meet my death or glory in the Hawaiian surf it all for a moment because so meh.

 

Bangkok just sounded like it was light-years ahead in adventure.

 

Europe and USSR in University.

 

Took me nearly 15 years via Cambodia and Vietnam. By that time I wasn't the least bit interested in Thailand. But Vietnam and especially Cambodia. That was it and I was hooked.

 

Rolled the dice on a big promotion and didn't get it. In less than a year I had sold everything and was living in Phnom Penh.

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My first arrival 92. First real time spent end of that year.

 

Ganja was smoked very discreetly more do outside BKK in the islands, mountains for obvious reasons.

 

So, some dumbaxx fires up a big joint in my GH on KSR. I'm just thinking cops gonna be round in minutes. I left to get beer. When I returned there was like six cops outside the building. Total scene. I drank three beers watching the drama. They left and I went back inside.

 

It was just like the beach but with cops lol.

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On 4/17/2021 at 9:15 AM, Why Me said:

He seemed to make friends first, win their trust and find out what they owned. Man definitely had more than just a menacing smirk and a powder in his pocket.

 

And I don't know if the part about Suda is an embellishment or not. But if it is true then that is a testament to a gifted loverboy. For a foreigner to seduce a hiso Thai gal is not easy at all:-)

The story of Charles Sobhraj is told in the book Bad Blood, which was written maybe a decade or so after the events depicted in the series. Suda was a real character and is also described in that book.

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