Nine weeks ago Ayr’s Station Hotel was burning. The B-listed Victorian masterpiece had been closed for a decade, left, local authorities said, in a state of dangerous disrepair. And now it was on fire.

South Ayrshire Council had been trying to reach its owner, Sunny Ung, for years. They say he owes them for money for work they have done to stop the hotel collapsing.

Around the time emergency services were fighting to save his building the Malaysian businessman posted pictures on his Instagram feed.

The 57-year-old was posing, from head to toes, in “jogging” gear from German luxury designer Philipp Plein. “Wild is fun,” he commented on his snaps.

Where was he? It is not clear exactly where or when the photograph was taken - though it appears to be in a Plein outlet.

READ MORE: Leading Scottish architects call for urgent action to save Ayr Station Hotel

Ung, however, at the same time posted another picture, in which he is wearing the same atomic yellow tracksuit bottoms. This time he gave a location: the upmarket Four Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. That is more than 6,500 miles from Ayr.

Sunny Ung - who in official documents goes by his full name Ung Eng Huat - bought the Station Hotel in 2010 for £750,000.

He has been routinely described as an absentee owner, with council officials desperate to get hold of him to stop the decay of his building.

The big fire on September 25-27 has had a devastating effect on Ayr. It closed the town’s station - though this will re-open ahead of Christmas - further damaging trade.

But who is the man who owns the site? Well, Ung’s Instagram documents his travels, his love of designer clothes, luxury watches and high-end cars.

The Herald: Ayr Station Hotel fireAyr Station Hotel fire (Image: Robert Collie)

The businessman has snaps with celebrities - such as racing driver Lewis Hamilton.

He has posted photos of himself in Rome, Venice, Madrid, Marbella and the Swiss Alps and he is always dripping in brand names.

He likes t-shirts with messages. One says: “Sex. Money. Crime.” Another: “I don’t believe in science, only love, sex and myself.” The businessman also has clothing and footwear branded DSS,  initials used in some of his companies.

Last week Ung was in Mykonos. Or at least he posted pictures of himself in Givenchy t-shirt and yellow shirts on the Greek island. Earlier this month he published images of himself in blazing red trousers in front of some Dutch windmills. Four weeks ago the photos were of him in a Balmain t-shirt and shorts on another Greek island, Santorini. “When you like your work,” he commented. “Every day is a holiday”.

In August Ung posted a series of pictures in a Fendi t-shirt, white ripped jeans and Givenchy flip-flops - with a Malaysian flag visible in the background.

READ MORE: Ayr Station Hotel: Why hasn't historic building been saved?

These photos came with another inspirational message in English: “Failure,” he wrote, “is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”

This is a theme Ung picks up in a short post detailing his rags-to-riches life story.  He reckons his childhood poverty and early business adversity has made him stronger.

In a post on Instagram, he wrote: “Lots of people have been asking me about my previous life before I turned in to the person I am now.

“I was born in a poor family. “My family house used well water, gasoline lamp, fire wood kitchen and I cycled 7km to school every day.”

Ung described how he sold food to earn a little cash when he was just 12.

The Herald: Sunny Ung lives a luxury lifestyleSunny Ung lives a luxury lifestyle (Image: Instagram/dss.sunny)

Writing in his non-native English, the ethnic Chinese added: “Poverty also forced me to do whatever jobs I thought could can help me get a small income.  Jobs like collecting old newspapers were fun for me and I took all the tasks as a learning process in life.”

He spent a year at college, he said, selling photocopies of books to fellow students to survive. But he could not make end’s meet and was unable to afford his final exam fees and returned home. So, aged 19, he took a job in construction and within a year started his own subcontracting business.

Ung, in his post life story, explained that he had to go to unlicensed, illegal money lenders, called “along” in Malaysia to finance his business.

He wrote: “At that time most of the money that I had in profit from the business was used only to pay off the ‘along’.

Ung, however, reckons this adversity was good for him. He concluded: “The hardship and difficulties that I faced especially during my childhood…. taught me a lot about life and [I’m] glad that I managed to get through it. 

READ MORE: Fire-ravaged landmark hotel can be saved from demolition, says engineer

“I have made use of of all these experiences as tools that helped to turn me [in] to who I am today. Rough seas made stronger sailors. Tough Times make stronger people.”

Ung’s Instagram also features press reports of his philanthropy in Malaysia. But his only mentions of Ayr come from way back in the spring of 2015. There is a picture of Ung outside the Station Hotel’s Reception, and another at the door of the Brig o Door House Hotel.

The Station Hotel has dominated Ayr since it went up in 1885. Its decline has affected local trade, especially since the fire - in connection with which three teenagers have been arrested. 

Mike Newall, the chief executive of South Ayrshire Council, last week said his officers were still looking to talk to Ung.

“It’s been difficult for the council,” he told Ayrshire Live. “We’ve been reading a lot of negative comments.

“The owner doesn’t accept any correspondence. He hasn’t made any contact with the council at all.

“The first contact we made with him was in 2013, the first dangerous buildings notice.

“There has been no contact with the owner. We’ve made numerous attempt to contact him, he has not been communicative, he hasn’t been in touch with us at all.”

Newall added: “I think that suggests that Mr Ung doesn’t care. The reality is the council cares, that is why we are spending literally millions of pounds to keep Ayr safe and the good people of Ayr, and its visitors safe.”

Ung used London addresses for a short-lived management company he set up for the hotel. In filings at Companies House he was described as a resident of England.

He also uses central London addresses for active companies in his DSS empire. And Ung is again listed as living in the UK. His daughter Alicia runs a dog cafe in London - which features in Ung’s social media postings.

Juliet Swann, Senior Policy Officer for Nations and Regions at Transparency International, said: "It is clear the absentee owner of the Ayr Station Hotel has allowed a building of historical and cultural value to fall into disrepair.

“This is endangering the local community, leaving the town unreachable by train, and costing millions of pounds to the public purse. That this situation has been left to fester whilst the owner flaunts his wealth on social media will rightly anger residents and stakeholders. This case raises serious questions about who is buying Scotland's cultural and heritage assets, and the accountability of these investors."

The Herald, through Instagram, asked Ung for comment. He did not respond.