Lt Col Pachai Mutayan of the Karon Police explained to the press at Karon Police Station today that the suspect arrested was Daharee Mahama, 30, from Narathiwat.
Col Pachai explained that his officers were alerted to the bag snatch at 3:42pm yesterday.
Officers arrived at the scene, near a resort on Patak Rd, which continues from Kata to the Saiyuan area in Rawai, to find Chinese tourist Liu Chang, 24, in a state of distress.
Ms Liu told police that a thief had grabbed her bag, which contained cash B1,300 and a credit card, and sped off on a motorbike, Col Pachai explained.
The thief was wearing a black full-face helmet, pink T-shirt, black shorts, and was riding a pink-blue Honda Scoopy-i scooter.
He was last seen riding northwards.
Police in the area were alerted to the theft and soon identified a Phuket-registered motorbike similar to the one described by the victim heading northbound, Col Pachai said.
Officers tracked the motorbike and its rider to an apartment building near Baan Sainamyen School in Patong, he said.
Police moved in and took Daharee into custody at his rented room at 4:30pm.
Daharee confessed that the motorbike parked out front – and used in the theft – was his.
A search of his room found the items described as stolen by Ms Liu.
Daharee confessed to the theft, saying that he rode close to the Chinese woman and grabbed her bag before speeding off, Col Pachai said.
While riding back to his room in Patong, Daharee removed the cash and credit cards from the bag and then threw the bag away.
Daharee also confessed to committing another bag snatch near Makro on Patak Rd in Kata on Sept 28, Col Pachai added.
Daharee was charged with theft by snatching for both incidents, Col Pachai confirmed.