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A true Story : Cak To, A King of Beggars

Updated on March 20, 2012
The King of Beggars
The King of Beggars

An Excerpt from JAWAPOS About Cak To (Brother To) .

Cak (Brother) To, that's how he's usually called, was raised in a beggar family  and now he's the boss of tens of beggars in Surabaya, capital city of Eastern Java Province and second largest city in Indonesia. From this begging job, now he owns 2 motorcycles, a luxurious car, and four houses.

Cak To didn't want to publish nor show his face when photographed, anyway he was willing to reveal much about his life and career.

Cak To can enjoy his life now after tens of years working as a beggar. He has never begged on streets or door to door anymore since his beggar team has given him enough income. With a team consists of 54 members Cak To gets income ranging from 200 thousand to 300 thousand per day.

This business has also given him 4 houses which are located at some cities in Eastern Java and Central Java. One house built on a 400 meters square land in Western Surabaya. He has also built another two houses in his hometown in Madura island, besides another house located in Semarang, Central Java. For his rides Cak To has two motorcycles and a Honda CRV of 2004 made.

King of Beggars' Life Story.

It wasn't easy to set an arrangement to see the mendicant boss although he eventually showed up for us. The first impression when the writer saw him that the luxury car he drove was too good to be his own: his scrawny body, dark complexion with wavy unkempt hair, and the way he talked ( gave an idea that he wasn't sufficiently educated), really didn't represent such a good car owner.

It was all started in Bangkalan, Madura island. Small To was brought by his parents working as beggars in Bangkalan. Because the city was considered not promising , To and his parents moved to Surabaya. The other three siblings didn't come along since they were raised by their grandma.

Cak To was introduced to the hardship of beggars life when he was teenage. It happened when money he'd collected was snatched by some hoodlums that pushed him to fight back. "I fought very often to defend my money", he said proudly, with his thin posture and 155 cm only height he dared to fight anyone who troubled him. He would even use a knife if the fighting was about money.

Another problem he used to face was sweeping operation held by Security Officers. If there was a member of his team caught by the sweeping he had to spend some ten to hundred thousands for paying what was so called "administrative fee" to get him/her free.

The more experienced and senior he became, the more income he got. He earned 30-50 thousands a day in 1990, a relatively big personal income at that moment. With growing income he got, Cak To could afford to buy a modest house in his hometown.Cak To had started a new stepping stone in his career as a boss of beggars.In 1996 he married to girl in his village, this was another step that he thought had made his life even better since more members joined to make his business got more chain links.

More and more men and women have been recruited to become members of his mendicant team, those new comers get some trainings first on how to be good beggars, some tips that Cak To teaches including how to set their appearances during working, how to talk and to deal with sweeping officers, etc, then they are posted at some location spread some areas around surabaya city. With sums of collected money he earns from this business Cak To doesn't need to go begging in the street by himself anymore, he only needs to manage his personnel well so that they are always loyal to him.

Cak To never sets any target how much every member has to collect money for him but he only asks them to give volunteer contribution which can be paid daily, weekly or monthly, from which he totally gets 6 up to 9 million rupiah every month. Ehmm...that's quite a lucrative business for Cak To.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      As he become richer, much better if he trains himself to new productive business. That will make him more decent and he can transfer his co-beggars conditions into positively changes...

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      @Vanadiana: I agree that it's not a good way to run a business.

      Thank you vanidiana for reading this hub.

      @fishtiger58: Yes, some people have one way or another to make money.

      @Freya Cesare : Those beggars depend on him very much so that they don't realize the scam. thank you for your visit Freya.

    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 

      7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      This is the lowest way to making money. Crazy! I don't believe he treat his team with so much freedom. I am agree with Pak Budiyono, there must be so many things he keep hidden under his sleeve. Provoking Hub! Thumbs up!

    • fishtiger58 profile image


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      wow I never heard of such a thing.

    • vanidiana profile image


      8 years ago from Depok, Indonesia

      It's awful when begging is made into a "legitimate" business.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes many people use it as a profession, and this hub only gives one example of them. Thank you Peggy W.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You portrayed begging as quite a big business. I guess it is the same in other countries.

    • syuryadi helpi profile image

      syuryadi helpi 

      8 years ago

      everyone has his own way and even being a beggar needs special training too.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Do you mean he exploits his beggar team members Pak ?. Thank you very much for the comment anyway.

    • Bbudoyono profile image


      8 years ago

      I believe he is not telling the whole truth. I think it is exploitation.


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