Three Hong Kong government officials narrowly escaped the deadly attack in Brussels on Tuesday after passing through airport security shortly before the bombing took place. Alice Choi, deputy representative of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels, along with two colleagues were due to board a plane to Milan for a duty visit on Tuesday morning, but were unable to fly due to the attack at Brussels airport. “I saw a big group of people running into the waiting area beyond the security check,” Choi told the Post in an email. “All departures and arrivals were put on hold after the incident.” Choi said they were later evacuated from the terminal building. Brussels bomb attacks: Hong Kong Chief Secretary among mourners at consulate general All 19 officers working in the Hong Kong office, including five from Hong Kong, were confirmed to be safe, a government spokeswoman told the Post . However, Choi did manage to explain the benefits of Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative to the Italian businessmen she was meant to meet in Milan – albeit over the phone. Asked whether she would leave in the wake of the bombings, Choi said: “It is our mission to promote Hong Kong in Europe. We will stay until the end of our assignment here which normally lasts three years.” “[The Brussels office] strongly condemns all kinds of terrorist attacks,” the office said in a statement. It also said it would handle work arrangements for staff in a “flexible manner” by striking a balance between “maintaining the operation of the office and protecting the personal safety of the officers”. Do Brussels bombings signal a shift in Islamic State focus to reassert its destructive capability in Europe? Winne Ko, a Hongkonger who has lived in and around Brussels since 2012, used to live in Molenbeek, the town thrust into the international spotlight since the Paris attacks. Most of the key suspects lived there. “I lived just a few blocks away from where [Paris bombing suspect] Salah Abdeslam was captured, but I never felt unsafe,” said Ko, who moved from Brussels in 2013 but still commutes there regularly for work. “I didn’t imagine terrorism could be so near.” Ko, a research consultant for an NGO on cancer prevention, said the city was not so dangerous that she would immediately leave. “But I will definitely be more vigilant,” she said. Dignitaries, Belgians and Hongkongers condemned Tuesday’s attacks and expressed sympathy and support for the Belgian people at the country’s Hong Kong consulate, where a condolence book was opened. Among the people who visited the consulate were Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and European Union representative Vincent Piket. “We share the pain of their family and friends. We must not allow terrorism to continue to haunt mankind. Let’s pray together for world peace,” Lam wrote in the book. Piket said there was “no excuse” for any type of violence.“We have to be very vigilant against the threats of terrorism, and cooperate and show a lot of solidarity to make sure this kind of incident does not happen again,” he said. Miroslaw Adamczyk, consul general of Poland, wrote that he was “deeply shocked” by another “brutal attack” and called for the world to “stand united” in the fight against terrorism.