Travel advice to Malaysia remained unchanged this morning following two British medical students being stabbed to death by a gang of men in Borneo.

Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, both 22 and from the University of Newcastle, were on a night out in Kuching on the Malaysian side of the island when a row in a bar turned violent.

After leaving the bar, they were chased by a group of men in a car before one got out and attacked them with a knife, according to police.

The pair were found lying face down in the road with stab wounds to the chest and the back at 4.15am local time yesterday, local media reported.

They were in the final week of a six-week work placement at a hospital in Kuching, a city in one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.

Local police added three suspects were arrested at about 6am local time and a knife was also found, and a fourth suspect was arrested at 4.45pm.

“The case is being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction,” a police statement said.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was aware of the deaths of two Britons and was “providing consular assistance to their families at this difficult time”.

FCO travel advice states that there is a threat to foreigners of “kidnapping and criminality” on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipeligo in the southern Philippines – away from Kuching in the west.