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.
"We have finished our investigation, the crime has been solved," he said.
"The suspects have been apprehended and they have admitted the crime. We have recovered the weapons from the crime.
VIDEO: Team mates of Neil Dalton chant his name as part of a competition between National Association of Medical Schools football teams to post the best football song online
"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.
"It's very unfortunate and we were very surprised this kind of thing happened in our city."
Malaysia's The Star newspaper has said the main suspect is a 23-year-old fishmonger, one a 29-year-old mechanic, 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 the deaths of the two men, who finished their elective with the hospital at the end of last month, was "very sad".
He said: "We are trying to provide counselling for the students here. We currently have about 20 British elective students."
He said the hospital is 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 excellent students, they were doing really well with their studies, 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 and it's such a tragic thing to occur."
Their devastated families were too upset to speak but neighbours and their university paid tribute to the men.
Mr Brunger's family, who live in Kent, issued a photograph of the student dressed in a white doctor's coat outside Sarawak General Hospital.
Mr Dalton's family declined to speak to reporters as friends and relatives gathered at their home in Ambergate, Derbyshire.
One of the Daltons' neighbours, a 50-year-old woman who did not want to be named whose daughter went to school with him in Belper, Derbyshire, said: "He was just a lovely boy. Totally self-motivated. Always jogging and studying.
"I used to call him Mr Biscuit because of his ginger hair. When he went off to do medicine I called him Dr Biscuit."