Abdul Ben Hassan was a designer of animoid snakes, originally from Egypt. Hassan had a reputation for designing animoid snakes of the highest quality, selling them on Animoid Row. He sold one of these replicant snakes to Taffey Lewis for Zhora to use in her acts.
Rick Deckard found a snake scale at an apartment a group of replicants led by Roy Batty were living in and initially thought it was a fish scale. However, he was corrected by a Cambodian woman when he went to Animoid Row, who told him that it was a snake scale and of a quality so high that Hassan was the likely maker. Deckard visited Hassan and after a question-and-answer between them about the snakes where Hassan was very reluctant to reveal his high-paying customers, Deckard decided to get faster results by threatening Hassan, who then quickly told him that Taffey Lewis bought the snake.
Hassan later had a short interview with Ray McCoy, giving him advice on where to find different mechanical animals and complained that the Los Angeles Police Department continued to interrogate him. He also revealed that he was afraid of Bullet Bob, an extremely aggressive and paranoid veteran of World War III who owned a large ammunition surplus shop, and suspected that he would sabotage others' stores.
Behind the scenes
For reasons unknown, Ben Astar was uncredited for the role until The Final Cut. The character is referred to only as "The Egyptian" in the shooting script. In the 2017 edition of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, author Paul M. Sammon theorizes that Astar came up with the character's name himself. In the video game, the character's surname is spelled Hasan and he was voiced by Stephen Sorrentino.
The "snake scale," when seen on the Cambodian woman's microscope, is actually an extreme close-up of a marijuana bud.