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Tea Leaves

Bangkok museum highlights curious fame of serial killer

Exhibition and TV drama keep Charles Sobhraj in the limelight

The Patpong Museum retraces the history of the Bangkok district from rice paddy to nightlife mile, via the Cold War. It features an exhibit on serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who picked up victims in the area and has returned to the spotlight following last year's release of the BBC/Netflix series, "The Serpent." (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Tom Vater, Netflix)  

Shortly before Christmas 2003, Canadian photographer Steve Sandford and I were sitting in the visitors' room of Kathmandu's Central Jail. It was cold, damp and noisy as relatives held shouted conversations with inmates on the other side of a concrete wall topped by a chicken-wire fence.

We were there to interview Charles Sobhraj, Asia's most infamous serial killer, who had been arrested three months earlier after his photograph appeared in a local newspaper. Sobhraj attracted little notice when he entered the room, flanked by guards and with his hands and feet shackled.

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