A notorious money lender who was once dubbed Australia’s toughest gangster has been spotted looking unrecognisable in Queensland.
The heavily tattooed Kiwi expatriate quickly forged a reputation in the Asian nation as the ‘Shark of Pattaya’, known for his intimidating bodybuilder physique and tough stance towards indebted borrowers.
But after stepping out of the spotlight four years ago, the former nightclub owner quietly returned to the Gold Coast during the Covid pandemic – where he has undergone a drastic transformation.
Tim ‘Sharky’ Ward (pictured left) became an icon in the streets of Thailand after fleeing Australia in 2009 after getting into trouble with police
The former millionaire is an ex Gold Coast nightclub owner who has a penchant for luxury cars
Footage posted on TikTok by a fan shows the once burly Ferrari fanatic – who built a cult following in the body building community – has lost much of his muscle mass and grown out his formerly close-shaved head and facial hair.
‘Sharky lost his size,’ the follower lamented, alongside a crying emoji.
Since moving back to Australia, Ward has relaxed into a laidback lifestyle on the Gold Coast, frequently sharing photos of his countryside motorbike rides with his more than 66,000 Facebook followers.
Other images show sunsets and sunrises over the picturesque water cannels that branch throughout the city.
‘I been flat broke and I been a multi-millionaire. The happy place is definitely somewhere in between,’ his Facebook bio reads.
Despite leaning down, the fitness enthusiast still appears to be hitting the gym, posting pictures of his post-work out physique online and last month giving fans tips on how to save big on protein bars by buying in bulk when they are on sale.
Footage posted online by a fan has revealed Sharky has leaned down his muscle mass in recent years
Ward told fans in a video (pictured) he plans to head to Thailand when the nation drops its permit requiring travellers to show their vaccination status
The bodybuilder has been spending his time going on motorbike jaunts around Queensland
In June, he revealed he plans to return to Thailand once the country drops its Covid entry permit, which is required to show vaccination status.
‘Everyone keeps asking me “are you going to go back to Thailand”,’ he said in a video.
‘Yeah, I am going to go back to Thailand when they drop the Thailand Pass. I can’t be bothered applying for stupid passes at the moment.
‘But I will miss Australia. Australia is the most beautiful place in the world. I have been to a lot of places, but no where as beautiful as this.’
Ward’s colourful life began on the streets of New Zealand where he grew up without parents and quickly became a social pariah; and his early reputation has followed him to adulthood.
‘You have to make it when no-one is going to give it to you. No mummy and daddy to run to so you gotta do what you gotta do. I was given up for adoption at birth. No mummy and daddy,’ Ward told the blog Stickman Bangkok in 2017.
The former nightclub owner once possessed a number of luxury cars and motorbikes
He developed a legion of fans online for his devotion to helping stray animals and abandoned children in Thailand
‘I was picked on when I was a kid. A boy brought me home with him and his parents pulled him inside and slammed the door. I was that kid.’
He began an obsession with earning quick money by playing pool for cash while still living across the Tasman and he first stepped into a gym at age 16.
Ward left his hometown of Waitara, Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island in 1990 to pursue his dreams on the Gold Coast in Australia.
He was a well-known nightclub owner and millionaire personal lender who, at his peak, owned three Lamborghini cars in three different colours – a luxurious life he earned by charging up to 200 per cent interest on his loans.
Ward was banned from loaning funds in Queensland in the mid 2000s, and was made to pay $270,000 in fines and $100,000 in court costs, after he was prosecuted by the Department of Fair Trading.
The muscle bound man helped abandoned children and dogs on the streets of Thailand
After finding himself in 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 sleeping with Thai sex workers and buying his way out of trouble.
‘I don’t have to wear a shirt. I don’t have to abide by the rules and if I do break the rules I just pay,’ Ward said previously.
‘It is one of the only places in the world where I really do feel free. I f*** up all the time but I pay. It beats going to jail. In Australia I would be in jail.’
The luxury car enthusiast – who at one stage owned three Lamborhhini’s – would also spend four hours every night handing out meat to dozens of stray dogs and cats on the streets of ‘sin city’.
His benevolence – which extended to went defending the animals when the drunk tourists take aim at the defenseless creatures and looking out for abandoned kids roaming the dangerous streets – earned him a legion of fans online.
The heavily tattooed Kiwi was known for his intimidating bodybuilder physique