Most read on SCMP.com this week HONG KONG Tens of thousands of people took to the city's streets on Tuesday to demand genuine democracy for the territory. Organisers of the annual rally said the turnout was 510,000, while police said it was just under 100,000. ASIA Singapore is a poor role model for Hong Kong because of its reliance on state enterprises, foreign capital and low-skilled migrant workers, writes columnist Philip Bowring. HONG KONG Pan-democrat activists on Tuesday called for open elections and burned a copy of Beijing's white paper outside the flag-raising ceremony for the 17th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China. HONG KONG Student activists held an overnight sit-in after Tuesday's mass rally as a rehearsal for Occupy Central's planned blockade of the city's business district. The police later removed the demonstrators. WORLD The US National Security Agency has been authorised to spy on all but four countries around the world, The Washington Post reported. The four exempted nations are Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. Featured video of the week SNAKE CATCHERS TO THE RESCUE Hong Kong is home to 57 indigenous snake species and two believed to have been introduced from elsewhere. With rare exceptions, snake populations are thriving. We meet two Hongkongers who are helping them.