Siam’s New Detectives is a national case study that contributes to the burgeoning literature on the development of forensic and identification technologies in the twentieth century. Samson Lim chronicles the adoption of technologies of visualization, such as crime statistics, photography, fingerprinting, and crime scene drawing and mapping, as Thailand developed into an independent nation-state.

In the earliest decades of the twentieth century, under leaders such as Chief Eric St. John Lawson, the Bangkok Metropolitan Constabulary imported policing innovations such as establishing a detective force, adopting fingerprinting, recording crime statistics, taking photographs, and drawing and mapping crime scenes. The Prisons Department had begun recording fingerprints around 1899. A Special Branch was established in 1902. Photographs were taken of prisoners on release, beginning in 1904. The earliest use of a crime scene fingerprint may have occurred in the late 1920s. Another Special...

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