Gaps narrow on September import and export figures Year-on-year drops in Hong Kong's exports and imports narrowed last month as the mainland and Asian economies showed signs of growth after the global downturn. Census and Statistics Department data show the value of exports shrank 8.6 per cent to HK$225.9 billion, an improvement on the 13.9 per cent drop in August. Economists had expected a 10 per cent fall. For imports, the decline narrowed to 3.1 per cent, from a 9.8 per cent drop in August, to HK$255 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of HK$29.1 billion last month. Of total exports, the value of re-exports fell by 7.8 per cent to HK$220.8 billion, while domestic exports dropped 35 per cent to HK$5.1 billion. Government to act on 'grey area' in industrial building law Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government would prevent developers from abusing the new system proposed in the policy address to allow conversion of industrial buildings to other uses. At a legislative meeting, Lam said the new system - allowing industrial blocks to be converted into hotels and serviced apartments - had a grey area, which some developers could exploit to turn industrial blocks into residential developments. But she said the rental period of hotel rooms and serviced apartments would be limited to prevent them from becoming permanent residences. Change of land use ruling on Wan Chai site defended Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the government's plan to change the use of a harbourfront site in Wan Chai to commercial use, saying it did not violate the Harbour Protection Ordinance. Former Society for Protection of the Harbour chairman Winston Chu Ka-sun said on Monday that he objected to the government's proposal. He said the land should be left for public use and he would voice opposition when the administration submitted an application for change of use of the land to the Town Planning Board. He did not rule out seeking a judicial review if the bid failed. Mainland refuses entry to HK-based Tiananmen activist A Hong Kong-based activist from the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign was barred from entering the mainland on Monday, with officers confiscating her home return permit. Lau Ka-yee was held after landing at Beijing airport and was forced to return to Hong Kong on Monday night. Lau yesterday quoted mainland officers as saying that she had breached national security laws and was ineligible to enter. She said officers refused to give further explanations or issue written documents for the actions taken. 'It is the time for the Hong Kong government to offer help to residents, for their own rights,' Lau said.