Malaysian sentenced to hang for murder of two UK medical students

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A Malaysian court convicted and sentenced a local fishmonger to death on Tuesday for the murder of two British medical students last year, his defence lawyer said.

Zulkipli Abdullah, 24, was found guilty of stabbing to death Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger in the city of Kuching last August after an argument in a bar.

"He was found guilty. The judge accepted the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses," Zulkipli's lawyer Anthony Tai told AFP.

The two victims, both 22 years old, were students from Britain's Newcastle University who were on a six-week work placement with a local hospital in the city, located in Borneo island's Sarawak state.

Police have said the two students were found dead on the morning of August 6 following an argument with several local men that began in a Kuching bar.

Five Malaysian men were later arrested but only Zulkipli was charged.

Police had said earlier that the four others would not face charges but would appear as prosecution witnesses.

Zulkipli faces death by hanging.

Tai said the case would be appealed.

During the trial, Zulkipli had said he was involved in a fight with the British students but denied killing them, according to Malaysian media reports.

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

Malaysian police in June last year found the body of a 34-year-old British tourist on the resort island of Tioman. The case is still being investigated.

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

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