A United Airlines passenger who flew from San Diego to Houston in the US recently has been arrested and charged in a federal complaint of setting up a secret video camera in the jet's first-class bathroom.
Footage from the camera revealed images of the man installing the camera, showing his watch and distinctive bracelet, clothes, shoes and backpack, according to an FBI document filed with the criminal complaint.
Airport security video showed the same attire on Choon Ping Lee, 50, a Malaysian citizen, who boarded United Airlines Flight 646 at San Diego International Airport on May 5 and landed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, an FBI investigator said in the document.
Lee, an employee of Halliburton, a multinational energy corporation based in Houston, was arrested in Texas. He pleaded not guilty in Houston federal court to one misdemeanour count of video voyeurism aboard an aircraft.
According to the complaint, a Houston resident on the United flight used the first-class lavatory and noticed an odd device with a blinking blue light hanging near a door hinge. She grabbed the device in a paper towel and gave it to the flight crew.
Airline security officials identified it as a video camera and viewed the footage, which showed a man in a short-sleeved blue shirt, baggy jeans and black leather tennis shoes installing the camera. FBI agents in San Diego and police in Houston matched those clothes to security video of a United passenger at both airports, the FBI said.
FBI agents in Houston were able to recover video files deleted from the camera and saw images of at least two women using a lavatory on a Emirates Airlines plane. One woman was in an airline uniform.
Halliburton records on Lee's business travels showed he had flown on Emirates Airlines, the FBI said.
Also, the agency said, Halliburton security video of Lee walking down a hallway at work showed him wearing what appeared to be the same watch and bracelet as was seen on the footage from the secret camera on the United flight.