For the first time in the history of the Hong Kong Police Force, the number of expatriate officers on the 28,000-member force will drop next year to fewer than 100.
At the peak around 1990, there were an estimated 900 officers from overseas in Hong Kong.
For many current and retired officers, this marks the end of an era for the 170-year-old force.
"It is sad but it's inevitable, it's the way Hong Kong society is going," said Manchester-born Kenneth Pemberton, 56, who left in 2012 after serving for 24 years. "In the last 20 years or so, society has changed and the force has changed with it."
Currently, there are 121 working officers from overseas. This is expected to drop below 100 by the end of next year, because of expected retirements and possible resignations.
The force stopped hiring police from overseas in 1994 and introduced Chinese-language requirements, including reading, writing and speaking skills.
Pemberton said that when he joined the force in 1987, there were many expat officers, many of whom were British.
"This is a generalisation, but the local police officers liked the expats because they were confident in making decisions. They were quite bold, and had a little bit of swagger about them.
"We had this cosmopolitan view and we could handle expatriates well.
"For instance, in Lan Kwai Fong, some expatriates who have been drinking can be dismissive towards the local police."
England-born Len Sayer, who retired from the force in 1997 and now lives in Cyprus, said his three decades in the city were a privilege but of a particular time in history.
"When asked whether I would stay post-1997 by the then deputy commissioner, my answer was that I was part of the past - and proud of it - but not a part of the future."
Robert Highfield was a young police officer in England in the mid-1970s when he saw a job advert for the Royal Hong Kong Police that showed a young officer in a dark street with neon Chinese signs in the background.
"It said: 'Yau Ma Tei, 3am, a fine time to discover yourself. Join the Hong Kong Police.' That was in 1974; I was 24."
Highfield retired from the force in 2005, aged 55, after 31 years of service. "Strangely enough, it was much easier for an expatriate officer to negotiate.
"We could avoid those personal relationships which locals so value, but which, in a place like Yuen Long, can be so dangerous," he recalled.
Ron Abbott, chairman of the Overseas Inspectors Association, said the language requirements meant the children of some former expatriate officers who might have wanted to join the police force now could not.More on this: