Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger, both 22 and students at Newcastle University, were in Borneo to work at a hospital in Kuching for six weeks. They, along with five other medical students, were expected to finish their temporary assignment in Kuching on Friday.
According to Malaysian police, the young men were at a tea shop when another patron complained that they were being too loud, which "gave rise to an argument." After Dalton and Brunger left the tea shop, four unidentified men followed them in a car. One of the men exited the vehicle and stabbed the two students with a knife.
The police reported that all four suspects were arrested and will be tried "under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction."
Newcastle University's acting vice-chancellor and professor Tony Stevenson said their deaths have "come as a huge shock to us all and our thoughts are with their families and friends at this very difficult time."
Stevenson added that two university staff members will fly to Borneo to coordinate the return of the other medical students.