Updated: 08/19/2014 17:19 | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysian charged with murder of British medical students

A Malaysian fishmonger on Tuesday was charged with murder over the fatal stabbing of two British medical students, a crime that carries the death penalty, local media and police said.

Malaysian charged with murder of British medical students

File photo shows a policeman on patrol in Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo island, on August 28, 2003 - by Jimin Lai

The bodies of Newcastle University students Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger, both 22, were found early August 6 lying in the road in Kuching, capital of Sarawak state on Borneo island.

Five Malaysian men were arrested in connection with the stabbing deaths that occurred after an alcohol-fuelled argument, according to police.

One of the suspects, Zulkipli Abdullah, 23, was charged with the murder on Tuesday, The Star daily reported.

The charge carries the mandatory death penalty by hanging upon conviction. No plea was recorded.

The four other suspects would not be charged but would appear as prosecution witnesses, Sarawak deputy police chief Chai Khin Chung told AFP.

He added three of them saw the crime, while the fourth helped dispose of evidence.

Court officials declined to comment when contacted, while lawyers could not immediately be reached.

Violent crime against tourists and expats is generally rare in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country. But some recent incidents have sullied that image.

Malaysian police in early June found the body of a 34-year-old British tourist on the resort island of Tioman. They have yet to announce the cause of death.

Last month, a court sentenced to death a Malaysian shopkeeper for the killing of a French tourist in 2011, also on Tioman.

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