Pan-democrats and pro-establishment candidates are in a neck and neck race as initial exit polls showed it might be too close to call in the landmark Legislative Council elections.
Pan-democrats have a "high to excellent chance" of winning 13 directly elected seats in the poll that saw more than 1.6 million people cast their votes.
Pro-establishment candidates have a "high to excellent chance" of winning six seats, according to the University of Hong Kong public opinion program's initial exit polls.
But there are still a lot of candidates with "equal chances" of claiming seats - making it difficult to predict the eventual winners.
With each of the 3.2 million eligible voters able to cast two votes for the first time, about 1.7 million people had gone to the polls an hour before polls closed at 10.30pm.
That equated to a 53.1 percent turnout rate - higher than the 45.2 percent of 1.52 million voters in the 2008 Legco elections.
Public outrage over the government's national education subject - scrapped at the last minute by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying - could be a factor on whether the pan- democrats prevail in the election.
Top runners for three of the five new super seats - the District Council (second) functional constituency - are Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, his partymate James To Kun-sun, Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood Frederick Fung Kin-kee and pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's Starry Lee Wai-king, according to the HKU polls.
Radical democrats are also likely to win at least four seats in their respective geographical constituencies: People Power's "Mad Dog" Raymond Wong Yuk-man, League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, Labour Party's Fernando Cheung Chiu- hung and new rising People Power star Chan Chi-chuen.
Raymond Wong criticized rival candidates for putting pressure on those yet to vote
"My competitors were playing dirty to steal my votes," Wong said.
With 35 geographical constituency seats in five regions up for grabs, a total of 216 candidates in 67 candidate lists contested the elections.
Eighteen candidates on seven lists competed for the five super seats.
In the hotly contested Hong Kong Island geographical constituency, Civic Party's Kenneth Chan Ka-lok is a shoo- in.
In Kowloon West, which has five seats, Democratic Party's Wong Pik- wan, People Power's Wong Yuk-man, Kowloon West New Dynamic's Priscilla Leung Mei-fun and Civic Party's Claudia Mo Man-ching are likely winners.
In Kowloon East, which has five seats, all candidates have equal chances.
In New Territories West, with nine seats, former medical-sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki has an "excellent" chance of being elected.
In New Territories East, with nine seats, DAB's Elizabeth Quat is tipped to win, together with "Long Hair" Leung.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying presided over the opening of the ballot boxes at 12.30am at the Legco Election Central Counting Station at AsiaWorld- Expo.
Counting is expected to be completed before noon today, with Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Justice Barnabas Fung Wah declaring the winning candidates.