A Malaysian man is the first person ever charged with video voyeurism aboard an aircraft after he allegedly positioned a camera in the bathroom on a flight from San Diego to Houston, the Houston Chronicle reports.
According to the arrest warrant, a first-class passenger on a United Airlines flight on its way from Southern California to Texas on May 5 was using the bathroom on board when she noticed a blue blinking light near a door hinge.
The woman reported the device was loosely hanging and that she thought it was odd, the warrant said.
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 him as Choon Ping Lee, a Malaysian man who, at the time, was employed by Halliburton.
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.
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.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Lee was arrested on Aug. 8 and is in custody in Houston, charged with video voyeurism aboard an aircraft.
The paper reported Lee is the first person ever arrested under the law since it was enacted in 2004.
No other information was available.
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