By Wilson Longhurst
New Zealanders caught up at a mass protest at Hong Kong International Airport have described feeling scared and frightened, after the terminal was brought to a standstill by anti-government demonstrators.
An Air New Zealand flight that landed in Auckland this morning was one of the last to leave before all flights were cancelled for the rest of the day.
Travellers on the flight told 1 NEWS they were relieved to get away.
"When they closed the doors we were told that we were very lucky; we were going to be the last plane that left Hong Kong," Wellington resident Kay Burgess said.
Another Kiwi traveller said, "It was pretty frightening because I've never seen so many people".
Protestors ramped up four days of disruption at Hong Kong airport overnight and authorities were left with no choice but to cancel more than 160 flights.
One New Zealander described having to be guided through the demonstrators to make it to her flight.
"Three men led us right through single-file – a whole group of us – through the crowd and they were pressing both sides; so it was scary."
A Cathay Pacific service bound for Auckland was rescheduled and is now set to land this afternoon.
Some New Zealanders in Hong Kong chose to stay at the airport instead of venturing out into the city.
"We decided it wasn't worth the risk," one man said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealanders going to Hong Kong should exercise "increased caution" and avoid all protests.
Protests were initially sparked by a controversial extradition bill that would allow for Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China, but tensions between demonstrators and police have now boiled over.
Beijing’s described the action as "terrorism".