May 30, 2016 2:56 pm
Updated: May 31, 2016 10:48 pm

How 3 women may have saved a stranger from date rape

WATCH: 24-year-old Michael Hsu made a court appearance on Tuesday pleading not guilty for allegedly attempting to drug his date after a witness spotted Hsu putting something in her drink. Three women who were sitting at a table nearby at Santa Monica’s Fairmont hotel warned the woman and police were called. Kristine Lazar reports.

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Three California women are being hailed as heroes after noticing a man slip something into his date’s drink — and notifying her.

The ladies were enjoying happy hour food and drinks at a restaurant in Santa Monica’s Fairmont hotel on Thursday, when one of them looked over at the table next to them.

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“I was going on about something and saw Monica staring behind [me] and making a funny face,” Sonia Ulrich wrote Friday in a now-viral Facebook post.

“After a few seconds she said, ‘That guy just put something in her drink.'”

The pair at the neighbouring table was sharing a bottle of wine, Ulrich wrote, and looked like they were on a “first or second or third date.”

When the woman got up to go to the washroom, Ulrich jumped on the opportunity to warn her.

“‘Woman to woman…you know. We had to say something,'” she told her.

It turned out the man was  the woman’s best friend, someone she’d worked with and known for a year-and-a-half.

Stunned, the woman returned to her table where she sat “through 40 more minutes.”

Her dinner date reportedly tried clinking his glass to hers “to get her to drink,” Ulrich wrote.

WATCH: Santa Monica police have arrested 24-year-old Michael Hsu for allegedly attempting to drug his date through her drink, but three women at the table next to him noticed it and stopped it before anything could happen.

Luckily, she didn’t have a sip. The women had not only warned her but also restaurant management, who notified security.

They were able to pull surveillance video and call the police.

To keep the pair in the restaurant, Ulrich said staff stalled delivering the bill, telling the man the computer was down.

“Then, in walks Santa Monica PD. They say ‘Come with us’ and he doesn’t protest. Doesn’t ask why. Doesn’t seem surprised.”

Police are still testing the drink. The witness statements and video gave them enough to make an arrest, Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez of the Santa Monica Police told Global News.

Michael Hsu  is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old suspect is being held on two charges: intent to commit a felony (rape) and drugging to commit a felony (rape).

In Canada, a date rape conviction can carry a 14-year sentence, according to Edmonton Police spokesperson Cheryl Sheppard.

WATCH: Allegations against Bill Cosby renewed fears over date rape drugs

Victims know the perpetrator in more than 80 per cent of sex assault cases, said Mary Jane James of Edmonton’s Sexual Assault Centre. Of the centre’s 365 clients who responded to an intake questionnaire last year, roughly 20 per cent suspected their alcohol had been spiked.

READ MORE: This is what it’s like to take your rape to court

The alleged date rape attempt in Santa Monica hit home for a number of people in the restaurant. Some told the women:

“It happened to my sister…I’m glad I was there to take her home.”

“It happened to my roommate at a producer’s party. He’s still messed up from it.”

“It happened to me. At a backyard barbecue.”

“It happened to me. At a bar I worked at.”

Bettina Wolff also commented on Facebook that it happened to her “out of all places, in an underground lesbian club.” She got disoriented but was able to get in to a taxi and get home safely.

READ MORE: What you need to know about date rape drugs

Her advice to others: “Watch your drinks, no matter what.”

And as Ulrich stresses in her post, if you do see something — say something.

“Even if it’s awkward or weird or just uncertain if anything can be done.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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