The Serpent (2021)

mbww

Jedi
BBC series inspired from the story of a real-life swindler who used to make a living in the mid-70's from poisoning and robbing young Western tourists in Southeast Asia.

The level of deception, manipulation and heinousness is just unbelievable, almost unbearable to watch at some point - there are 8x1-hour episodes - so plan accordingly if you binge watch. How was that all possible? All those victims were people who trusted and befriended the guy, a psychopath with an altered ego, even after he was caught and sentenced he still enjoyed admiration in some part of the world...hence the title, as from cobra hypnosis. An yet his end-goal was stealing, he was just a miserable thief, petty criminal with great ideals at the end of the day. But people fall victims of their own credulity, like that woman who died shot in the Capitol Hill victim of another deception, her family learned from TV - her parents in-law could not explain what drove here there.

Spare me of these charismatic type of characters and messiahs like Trump the Patriot or Savior, I prefer to admire the delivery guy or the clerk checking every detail of the paperwork...

 

deluz

The Force is Strong With This One
BBC series inspired from the story of a real-life swindler who used to make a living in the mid-70's from poisoning and robbing young Western tourists in Southeast Asia.

The level of deception, manipulation and heinousness is just unbelievable, almost unbearable to watch at some point - there are 8x1-hour episodes - so plan accordingly if you binge watch. How was that all possible? All those victims were people who trusted and befriended the guy, a psychopath with an altered ego, even after he was caught and sentenced he still enjoyed admiration in some part of the world...hence the title, as from cobra hypnosis. An yet his end-goal was stealing, he was just a miserable thief, petty criminal with great ideals at the end of the day. But people fall victims of their own credulity, like that woman who died shot in the Capitol Hill victim of another deception, her family learned from TV - her parents in-law could not explain what drove here there.

Spare me of these charismatic type of characters and messiahs like Trump the Patriot or Savior, I prefer to admire the delivery guy or the clerk checking every detail of the paperwork...

I remember reading about him many decades ago after he was finally tracked down and caught by Interpol and sent to prison. I ended up buying the book about his life and crimes called, "SERPENTINE". Can't remember the name of the author, but it was a spellbinding read and I believe it was a bestseller. I do remember that he was half asian indian and half something else... I believe it was vietnamese. His upbringing was highly unusual having grown up in many different places, mostly 3rd world countries like Dakar in Senegal. He was full of confidence and charm and could talk his way out of any situation. No prison could hold him... and he preyed on young european and american hippie type tourists. A true psychopath indeed !
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I remember reading about him many decades ago after he was finally tracked down and caught by Interpol and sent to prison. I ended up buying the book about his life and crimes called, "SERPENTINE". Can't remember the name of the author, but it was a spellbinding read and I believe it was a bestseller. I do remember that he was half asian indian and half something else... I believe it was vietnamese. His upbringing was highly unusual having grown up in many different places, mostly 3rd world countries like Dakar in Senegal. He was full of confidence and charm and could talk his way out of any situation. No prison could hold him... and he preyed on young european and american hippie type tourists. A true psychopath indeed !
Maybe it was this book?

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mbww

Jedi
There are several books that have been written on the subject, that's just one of them - chronicling the crime spree and life of the infamous character. This was indeed one of the most prominent cases in the late '70s and '80s on par with the terrorist sagas of the era.

What the drama series brings new - on top of the killer's bio mostly as flashbacks - is the perspective from the investigators' point of view, namely that of Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, who was the first to suspect foul play in the disappearance of two Dutch backpackers in Bangkok, 1976, and then figured out the mysterious criminal who was luring tourists - way before the police and Interpol got involved, and much to the disapproval of his Ambassador boss, who was reprimanding him constantly for getting involved in criminal matters pertaining to local police...

The creators of the series have done a good deal of research including meetings with Knippenberg himself, who is very much alive now and his wife at the time, Angela - who were a newly married young couple in '76 and had a happy life, but then when they realized the horrible crimes, could never stop and and were but extraordinary in figuring out the intricate web of lies and deception.
 
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