A passenger who put a camera in an airplane bathroom on a flight from San Diego to Houston has pleaded guilty and could be deported.
Choon Ping Lee, a 50-year-old Malaysian man, pleaded guilty to video voyeurism on Tuesday. A judge in Houston sentenced Lee to two months in prison and a $6,000 fine.
The Justice Department says Lee acknowledged installing a camera in the first-class bathroom of a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston on May 5.
A female passenger using the airplane bathroom found the device. She noticed a blinking blue light, dangling near the door hinge. Thinking it was odd, the passenger grabbed the device with a paper towel and gave it to flight attendants when she was done using the restroom.
When the plane landed in Houston, flight attendants gave the device to security staff who confirmed it was a camera.
Footage on the camera showed a man installing it in the bathroom but did not show his face. However, the footage did reveal the man had on distinct jewelry – a watch on his left wrist and a bracelet on the right – and a blue short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and black shoes with black laces that had white trim on the bottom.
FBI agents reviewed boarding video and saw footage of a man matching the description boarding the flight and Houston Police Department officers reviewed airport surveillance footage and found a man matching the description getting off the plane.
After enhancing the footage to get a clearer look at the man’s face, officers were able to identify that man as Lee.
Lee was in custody since his Aug. 7 arrest. The Justice Department says he's not a U.S. citizen and is expected to face removal proceedings.
Earlier this month, the FBI said Lee had been charged with video voyeurism aboard an aircraft.
FBI agents searched the camera device and were able to find deleted footage from an Emirates Airlines bathroom that exposed at least two women, one of whom had on Emirates Airlines-branded clothing, warrant documents stated.
Up until his arrest, Lee was employed by Halliburton.
FBI agents contacted Halliburton and confirmed that Lee had flown on Emirates Airlines for work. The company gave the FBI real-time surveillance footage of Lee from a job site he was on, and he was wearing jewelry that matched the jewelry worn by the man in the video recorded in the bathroom.