Four men arrested over the murder of two British medical students who were stabbed in Borneo after a row in a bar have admitted the crime, a police chief has said.
The local men have been detained over the killing of Newcastle University Medical School students Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger, who were on the Malaysian part of the island on attachment to a hospital in Kuching.
The attack happened in the Jalan Padungan area of Kuching in Sarawak province, in the west of the Malaysian part of Borneo.
Deputy police commissioner Chai Khin Chung said they had now finished their investigation, as the men confessed, and they would now be passing on their evidence for prosecution.
He said: “The suspects have been apprehended and they have admitted the crime. We have recovered the weapons from the crime.
“We are waiting for the corpses in the hospital mortuary to have the post-mortem carried out. We have all the major evidence in our hands which we will send to the prosecution.”
He said the two students had got into an argument with the men on the table next to them in the bar and after leaving on foot, they were followed by car and then attacked from behind.
“They were having a drink and got into an argument with the next table.
“After a prolonged argument they left the bar on foot and were followed in a car. They came from behind and stabbed them”, he said.
“The four people, who are local men, will be charged with murder. It’s very unusual for Kuching.It’s always very peaceful.”
Malaysia’s The Star newspaper has said the main suspect is a 23-year-old fishmonger, one a 29-year-old mechanic and the others 19 and 35 and both unemployed. Two are said to have previous convictions for drugs and armed robbery.
It has been reported that two Irish medical students were assaulted just days before the stabbings.
The hospital where Mr Dalton and Mr Brunger had been working before being stabbed to death in Borneo is providing counselling to other students since the tragedy.
Sawatar Hospital medical director Dr Chin Zin Hing said: “We are trying to provide counselling for the students here. We currently have about 20 British elective students.”
He said the hospital was also working closely with the British Embassy to “see how best we can provide some assistance to the families of the men”.
Professor Jane Calvert, Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Newcastle University Medical School, said the fourth-year students were “highly committed” and were both doing well in their studies.
She said: “We are all so shocked and saddened by this.
“They were highly committed and coming back next year to work as doctors.
“Aidan was aspiring to do some medical research on his return. Neil was going straight into his final year.
Mr Dalton’s former teacher at Belper School, where he was a pupil from 2003 until 2010, Swerupa Gosrani praised the student as “one of the nicest, most considerate and genuine people you could ever meet”, adding that “more than Neil’s many academic and other achievements, I remember his character”.
Newcastle University said they had sent two members of staff out to Kuching to offer support to the students still out there and to help the authorities.