Malaysian charged with taking secret video in US airplane toilet

A Malaysian man has been accused of fixing a camera in the toilet of a United Airlines aircraft in May. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian man, named as Lee Choon Ping, has become the first person to be charged with video voyeurism in a first-class toilet on board an aircraft, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle yesterday.

Lee was arrested on Thursday and is being held in custody in Houston, charged with video voyeurism aboard an aircraft, the report said, adding that Lee is the first person ever arrested under the law since it was enacted in 2004.

The report said Lee was employed by Halliburton, the oil and gas services company. He was identified by the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation through real-time company surveillance video footage while he was at a job site.

Lee was alleged to have positioned a camera in the toilet on a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston on May 5, the report said.

According to the arrest warrant, a first-class passenger using the toilet on the flight noticed a blue blinking light near a door hinge. She 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 toilet. Security staff later confirmed the device 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 jewellery – 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.

Airport surveillance footage showed a man matching the description boarding the flight and getting off the plane. Police enhanced the footage and were able to identify him.

The report said FBI agents found deleted footage on the camera from an Emirates Airlines bathroom that exposed at least two women, one of whom was wearing Emirates Airlines clothing, and Halliburton later confirmed that Lee had flown on Emirates Airlines on work.