According to reports, the pair was attacked by a local gang on the way back to their backpacker hostel following a bust-up with a group of local men over complaints they were being too noisy in bar.

Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger – both 22 – were studying medicine at Newcastle University and, according to the Malaysia Chronicle, were found several metres apart with serious stab wounds to the chest and back.

The university said they were on a six-week work placement along with five other medical students and were due to return to the UK later this month.

Police are understood to have arrested four suspects and seized a car and a knife.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing consular assistance to their families at this difficult time.”

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