Officials are considering how to best use the border plot, says finance chief A border site between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is being considered for the proposed free-trade zone, the financial secretary revealed yesterday. Henry Tang Ying-yen's comment at a special meeting of the Legco panel on financial affairs was the clearest signal yet about future ways to develop what industrialists have dubbed a prime site to boost the economy and raise employment in Hong Kong. The one-sq-km site near Lowu was acquired in the 1990s after the government improved the flooding problem along the Shenzhen river. Mr Tang said the government was actively considering ways to use the valuable land. 'As it is directly linked to Shenzhen, we don't want to lose touch with Shenzhen when developing it. We're considering allowing Shenzhen residents to enter the zone without a visa, Hong Kong people can also enter and leave the zone freely,' Mr Tang said. 'Of course, there would be some control mechanism, otherwise mainland people coming to Hong Kong would not be subjected to any control.' When asked for more details, Mr Tang's press secretary, Laurie Lo Chi-hong, said the government had always been studying use of the border zone and was listening to the views of various organisations. Stressing that no decision had been made, Mr Lo said one idea being considered was an exhibition centre allowing industrialists from the mainland to enter freely. Concerns about the border zone's development were raised after a September visit to Beijing by Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing, who met state leaders including President Hu Jintao. At the meeting, Mr Li proposed a tax-free industrial zone on the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border, saying it would attract investment and ease unemployment. His idea was initially rejected by Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology John Tsang Chun-wah, who said: 'Hong Kong cannot turn back the clock to the time of plastic flower manufacturing.' But subsequent comments by Mr Tang and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa suggested the government's stance was changing. Both have said they would consider any proposal that could help Hong Kong's economy. Speaking in Bangkok last week, Mr Tung admitted he had spoken with Mr Li about the industrial zone, but said he had not received a written proposal from the tycoon. Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong legislator Chan Kam-lam said at the panel meeting that the border site should be used to stimulate business opportunities.