Pitung was born in Pengumben, a then-slum village in Rawabelong, near Palmerah Station today. The fourth son of Bang Piung and Mpok Pinah was born with a birth name Salihoen. His childhood was spent at an Islamic boarding school (pesantren) led by Hadji Naipin. In addition to reciting, he learned martial arts. As an adult, Pitung was famous among the Betawi people as a good-hearted champion. He robbed the Kompenie (the Dutch) to distribute the profits to the poor. His actions were recorded in Hindia Olanda (a newspaper during the Dutch colonial era). He was named fugitive by the colonial police.
The story of Si Pitung is still told by Indonesians today as part of Betawi legends. It is sometimes told through Rancak (a kind of ballad), poetry, or Lenong story. In the version of Koesasi (1992), Pitung is identified as a grounded Betawi figure, a devout Muslim, and an example of social justice.
After his death, Si Pitung was immediately forgotten by the Dutch but not by Indonesians. The story of Si Pitung is well maintained through lenong and film. For them, Si Pitung is a resemblance of Robin Hood from Betawi.