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Series / Tiger Cubs

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Guess which Hong Kong actor has actual police experience? note 

Tiger Cubs (offically 飛虎, which literally means Flying Tigers in Chinese) is a Hong Kong TV series produced and created by TVB. It's a police procedural show that centers on the Hong Kong Police Force's elite anti-crime/terrorist unit called the Special Duties Unit (which was an alternative title given by TVB) alongside "The One", the title being rarely used in Hong Kong media). It aired for two seasons.

In Hong Kong, it's officially called Flying Tigers note  or Special Duties Unit as well. The show centers on the SDU's officers and personnel as they are deployed throughout the SAR to battle against armed criminals and terrorists, as well as being called in to support their fellow officers when their expertise or manpower is needed when firearms are involved. The SDU frequently works alongside detectives of the HKPF's Organized Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB) in most of their cases. It also shows the lives of these officers in and out of work as they try to balance their personal and professional lives, despite their position in the force.


The first season, with 13 episodes, has finished airing on TVB with good ratings and a DVD release in Hong Kong and in the United States (It's unavailable for purchase in Canada since TVB has the show released on DVD through its American branch unless one buys it from the internet). Actor Joe Ma sang the opening theme of the first season called 身邊的依據 or "Surrounding Basis". For the second season, he sang 血與汗 or "Blood and Sweat" as its opening theme.

A second season has already aired in Hong Kong with a total of 10 episodes. TVB says that the second season was officially featured in a TVB Sales Presentation by 2014. While the majority of the cast is scheduled to be back in the second season, Hong Kong media has announced that actress Jessica Hsuan would not be able to reprise for her role as OCTB Senior Inspector Chong Chuk-wah.


Outside of Hong Kong, the show has officially been broadcasted in TV stations in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and in the United States. It's also known to be one of the most expensive dramas to ever be produced since the total budget was allocated by TVB to be at HKD$15 Million with HKD$1 Million budgeted for each episode shot in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Police Force, like in all Hong Kong-produced movies and TV shows involving the force (except for those produced from overseas, like Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight), has cooperated with TVB by providing the needed training and equipment in order to help the actors portray themselves in the show as actual SDU officers in the HKPF.

This series contains examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: In "Army Obsession", the OCTB has a hard time finding airgun BBs that were used to kill off several persons charged in court with several crimes before they were released to the streets. This leads to the conclusion that the suspects had taken the time to remove them from the ground and from the corpses to ensure that they would not be implicated.
  • Appeal to Ignorance: Kary and her group converts their AEGs to actual firearms. It is said several times by those playing airsoft/familiar with airsoft that airsoft manufacturers have made their products that it's impossible for anyone, even a gunsmith, to change an airgun into a working firearm.
  • Asshole Victim: All of the Fuerdais involved in "The 2G Kidnapping Case". They're rich, bossy, won't listen to instructions from the host and the police to protect them from getting kidnapped to the point of just wanting to get away from the police and act like nothing's happening. But that changes when they're taken hostage.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: English and Cantonese for obvious reasons. In "The 2G Kidnapping Case", the Malaysian-Chinese nationals speak English and Cantonese, which is correct since Malaysia has a Chinese population and some parts of it do speak Cantonese as a regional language in Malaysia.
  • Brand X: Skylette Airlines in "True & False Drug Dealers", possibly for Cathay Pacific.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Happens to the armed suspects when the SDU deploys snipers in an operation.
  • Cop Killer:
  • "Die Hard" on an X: On a cruise ship in the 1st season finale episode "The King of Thieves Returns".
  • Dirty Cop: The HKPF thinks that Lam Shek-yung in "The Cop Who Stole a Gun" is one since he stole a revolver from the armory. However, he claims that Senior Inspector Chong Chuk-wah is responsible for ruining his career and destroying his marriage, as well as getting drunk, which is why he was "forced" to steal the gun.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Justified since the show is centered mainly on the HKPF's SDU.
  • Fun With Acronyms: The SDU means Special Duties Unit and the OCTB means the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: The SDU are armed with Western-made weapons like Glock 17s, HK MP5 and KAC SR-25s while the bad guys are armed with AK-based rifles and IWI Uzis. The former is justified since the force was created and trained by British police officers stationed in Hong Kong when it used to be a British overseas territory.
    • Subverted with the episodes "Army Obsession" since the wargamer vigilantes are armed with several airgun versions of the AR-15. That is, until they were somehow able to acquire real gun parts covertly and change their weapons to actual firearms.
  • Gratuitous English: The official DVD English subtitles sometimes fall into this.
  • Hostage Situation: One of the few situations where the SDU gets deployed by the police.
  • Human Shield: A tactic armed suspects usually do when they're in a corner.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted, a majority of the bad guys managed to shoot well that a few SDU operators and OCTB detectives either get killed or are wounded in the course of the show's broadcast.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The jewel thieves in "Here Comes the King of Thieves" leave evidence that they were staking out a location for a supposed armored car heist. The SDU and OCTB mobilized to stop it, only for them to find out that the thieves faked the supposed plan in order to rob a small expo where jewels were being showcased.
  • Killed off for Real: A few SDU operators are killed during several of its operations with one of them killed after being kidnapped aside from armed criminals, which reflects Truth in Television about the dangers of being an elite anti-crime/terrorist officer.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Sometimes the SDU uses this whenever they are forced to engage in close quarters. Luckily, they use a pistol with them to ensure that they aren't helpless.
  • Motive Rant: A few suspects do this when they're cornered. Some are a bit justified, while others are just plain crazy.
  • Mundane Utility: In "Uncovering Drugs Den", Alpha Team tries to use surveillance cameras to determine if Wai-wai is in a relationship with Chuk-yuen or not.
  • Oh, Crap!: Whenever the suspect uses grenades/surprise attacks against the SDU, which sometimes goes to This Is Gonna Suck.
  • Present Day: The show starts in the year 2011.
  • Running Gag: Chong Chuk-yuen tries to get away from Ting Wai-wai's romantic advances and his plot to mend the fence between her and his superior, Chin Ho-to.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: This sometimes happens when the SDU has a clear shot on the bad guy in a hostage siege and with permission from their commanders.
  • Shown Their Work: The tactics, uniforms and equipment are accurately shown since the Hong Kong Police Force has assisted the actors in their training to act like real SDU officers.
    • The mannerism of the officers in the show, such as the salute and addressing their superiors as "X sir" or "Madam Y", are also accurate since this is how the HKPF operates, which is from the British colonial legacy in the police force from when Hong Kong was a British overseas territory.
    • Using Cantonese and English for obvious reasons. Same goes for Guangdong-based people since they speak Cantonese as another major language in the province aside from Mandarin, because they are geographically near Hong Kong.
    • The portrayal of the Fuerdai in the show from "The 2G Kidnapping Case", although one of them is clearly said to be Japanese. But one can excuse this since the Japanese national may have a Cantonese-speaking mother aside from her Japanese father.
    • "Army Obsession" shows off Hong Kong law where it's mandated that an airgun that fires BBs from more than 2 Joules is illegal for sale/production/use in a wargame. The law currently states that 2 Joules and below is the standard.
  • Spoiler Opening: Watching the opening and ending credits can shed some lights on what could happen next via scene previews in the next/future episode.
  • Suicide Attack: To Tin-yu in "Here Comes the King of Thieves" forces one of his hostages to don a makeshift suicide vest with a timer and a mobile phone he uses as detonator. Thankfully, the SDU doesn't shoot the hostage and Tin-yu shoves the hostage out of the getaway vehicle.
  • Title Drop: Several times, the title is mentioned.
  • Training from Hell: Getting to the SDU is no easy feat. Training ranges from unarmed combat, proficiency in small arms and on-foot navigation while relying on maps and compasses. It also includes physical feats while in the rain and shooting confidence by shooting at paper target near the head of your colleagues.
  • Urban Warfare: A given since most of Hong Kong are cities that the SDU's combat tactics are meant to engage armed criminals and terrorists in the SAR. However, they are also trained to engaged hostiles in the rural parts of Hong Kong as well.

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