Up to 5,000 people took advantage of the extra 30 minutes to cross the border at Lowu and Lok Ma Chau last night when opening hours were extended to midnight. An extra 50 immigration officers were deployed to the two crossings to cope with demand. Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced last month that the border opening hours at the two checkpoints would be extended to midnight every day, from yesterday, amid calls for round-the-clock border crossings. Crossings at Lok Ma Chau also started earlier, at 6.30am, bringing it into line with Lowu, and more cargo lanes were opened there between 10pm and midnight. In announcing the extended hours, Mr Tsang said he expected an additional 3,000 to 5,000 passengers would use Lowu each day and 1,200 more would pass through Lok Ma Chau. The checkpoints handle 280,000 people every day. At Lowu yesterday, immigration officers handled 7,000 passengers an hour, similar to any Saturday. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation has added 10 more trains, while the Lok Ma Chau shuttle bus operator also increased services.