More than 233,000 people raced to return to Hong Kong yesterday on the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday, causing delays and overcrowding on the Shenzhen side of the border. The Immigration Department said a number of tour group members had become separated. About 188,000 had entered through Lowu and more than 45,000 through the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint, it said. The peak was between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, when 17,000 people entered through Lowu. Some travellers said they had to wait up to two hours to cross as thousands crammed into the immigration hall on the mainland side. More than 170,000 people also travelled the other way into Shenzhen through the two checkpoints yesterday. An estimated 13,000 people crossed from Lowu during the checkpoint's peak period from 11.30am to 12.30pm, when waiting time was about 20 minutes. The New year journeying was the first major test of Lok Ma Chau's 24-hour border crossing, which began last Monday.