The two students stabbed to death in Malaysia while on a placement as part of their medicine course have been locally named as Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger.
The pair, who were both 22, were killed in the Kuching area and were reportedly involved in an argument with locals, who confronted them on Abell Road. The students were found lying on the road metres apart with serious bodily wounds.
The pair were on a six week work placement along with five other medical students.
Police have detained three suspects involved in the investigation, while a fourth is still on the run, the Borneo Post reported.
Professor Tony Stevenson, acting vice chancellor of Newcastle University, said: "We were informed this morning of the very sad news that two of our fourth year medical students working at a hospital in Kuching, Borneo, have been tragically killed.
"This has come as a huge shock to us all and our thoughts are with their families and friends at this very difficult time."
A member of staff is flying out to Kuching "as soon as possible" to support the other students and co-ordinate their return to the UK.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are aware of the deaths of two British nationals in Malaysia on August 5. We are providing consular assistance to their families at this difficult time.”