If you wish to search/replace for a UTF-8 sequence, you'll need a string in UTF-8 format. Encode is the module to use to convert the string to UTF-8. Then, you can search for the bytes using /\xC0\xBF/.
Of course, if the string was read in as ASCII or another single-byte encoding, it should already be in UTF-8, so you should be able to use /\xC0\xBF/ already.
At least, that's how I understand things. I don't have much experience in this area.
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