A notorious money lender who was once dubbed Australia’s toughest gangster has been spotted unrecognizable in Queensland.

Former millionaire Tim ‘Sharky’ Ward, fled the Gold Coast for the streets of Thailand in 2009 after finding himself in the crosshairs of Australian police.

The heavily tattooed Kiwi expat quickly earned a reputation in the Asian nation as the “Shark of Pattaya”, known for his intimidating bodybuilder physique and tough stance on borrowers in debt.

But after stepping out of the spotlight four years ago, the former nightclub owner has quietly returned to the Gold Coast during the Covid pandemic – where he has undergone a radical transformation.

Tim ‘Sharky’ Ward (pictured left) became an icon on the streets of Thailand after fleeing Australia in 2009 after getting into trouble with the police

The former millionaire is a former Gold Coast nightclub owner who has a penchant for luxury cars

The former millionaire is a former Gold Coast nightclub owner who has a penchant for luxury cars

Footage posted to TikTok by a fan shows the once burly Ferrari fanatic – who has built a cult following in the bodybuilding community – has lost much of his muscle mass and grown his once-shaved head and facial hair from close.

“Sharky lost his height,” the follower lamented, alongside a crying emoji.

Since returning to Australia, Ward has relaxed into a laid-back lifestyle on the Gold Coast, frequently sharing photos of his motorcycle rides in the countryside with his more than 66,000 Facebook followers.

Other images show sunsets and sunrises over the scenic water canals that branch throughout the city.

“I’ve been penniless and I’ve been a multi-millionaire. The happy place is definitely somewhere in between,” reads his Facebook bio.

Despite leaning in, the fitness enthusiast still seems to be hitting the gym, posting photos of his post-workout physique online and last month giving fans tips on how to save big on gyms. protein bars by buying in bulk when they are on sale.

Images posted online by a fan revealed that Sharky had lowered his muscle mass in recent years

Images posted online by a fan revealed that Sharky had lowered his muscle mass in recent years

Ward told fans in a video (pictured) that he plans to travel to Thailand when the country drops its permit requiring travelers to show their vaccination status

Ward told fans in a video (pictured) that he plans to travel to Thailand when the country drops its permit requiring travelers to show their vaccination status

The bodybuilder spends his time riding motorcycles in Queensland

The bodybuilder spends his time riding motorcycles in Queensland

In June, he revealed he planned to return to Thailand once the country drops his Covid entry permit, which is needed to show his vaccination status.

“Everyone asks me ‘are you going to go back to Thailand,'” he said in a video.

“Yeah, I’m going back to Thailand when they drop the Thailand Pass. Can’t be bothered asking for stupid passes right now.

“But I will miss Australia. Australia is the most beautiful place in the world. I have visited many places, but none are as beautiful as this one.

Ward’s colorful life began on the streets of New Zealand where he grew up without parents and quickly became a social pariah. and his early reputation followed him into adulthood.

‘You have to do it when no one is going to give it to you. No mom and dad to run to so you gotta do what you gotta do. I was given up for adoption at birth. No mom and dad,’ Ward told the Stickman Bangkok blog in 2017.

The nightclub's former owner once owned a number of luxury cars and motorbikes

The nightclub’s former owner once owned a number of luxury cars and motorbikes

He has developed a legion of fans online for his dedication to helping stray animals and abandoned children in Thailand.

He has developed a legion of fans online for his dedication to helping stray animals and abandoned children in Thailand.

“I was bullied when I was a child. A boy took me home with him and his parents pulled him inside and slammed the door. I was that kid.

He began an obsession with making a quick buck playing pool for cash while living across Tasman and he first entered a gym aged 16.

Ward left his hometown of Waitara, Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island in 1990 to pursue his dreams on Australia’s Gold Coast.

He was a well-known nightclub owner and millionaire personal moneylender who, in his heyday, owned three Lamborghini cars in three different colors – a luxurious living he earned by charging up to 200% interest on his loans.

Ward was banned from lending funds in Queensland in the mid-2000s and had to pay $270,000 in fines and $100,000 in court costs, after being prosecuted by the Department of Fair Trading.

The muscular man helped abandoned children and dogs on the streets of Thailand

After getting into trouble with Australian police in 2009, Ward moved to Thailand where he could finally be ‘free’.

There, he lived a thrill-seeking lifestyle, previously admitting to having slept with Thai sex workers and getting out of trouble.

“I don’t need to wear a shirt. I don’t have to play by the rules and if I break the rules I just pay,’ Ward previously said.

“It’s one of the only places in the world where I really feel free. I shit all the time but I pay. It’s better to go to jail. In Australia, I would be in jail.

The luxury car enthusiast – who at one point owned three Lamborhinis – also spent four hours every night distributing meat to dozens of stray dogs and cats on the streets of the ‘sin city’.

Her benevolence – which has extended to animal advocacy when drunken tourists target the helpless creatures and to finding abandoned children wandering the dangerous streets – has earned her a legion of fans online.

The heavily tattooed Kiwi was known for his intimidating bodybuilder physique

The heavily tattooed Kiwi was known for his intimidating bodybuilder physique