Among 1,079 workers employed at a Kia Motors assembly plant in the southwestern city of Kwangju, about 200 miles south of Seoul, 120 were found to have paid money to the automaker's managers and union staff in return for jobs, according to a report in the Korea Times.

Announcing the mid-term results of their investigation into the jobs-for-cash scandal, prosecutors said the total amount of money they paid was 2.44 billion won ($US2.36 million), equivalent to 20 million won per worker.

Nineteen company managers, employees, union staff and job brokers have been arrested so far for their involvement in the case. They included a 44-year-old union staff member, identified by his surname Chung.

Chung reportedly was arrested for taking 378 million won from 36 people in return for job offers.

According to the prosecution, Chung took the money from his acquaintances and brokers and recommended the job seekers to the personnel management department at the factory.

In one case, he took 18 million won from his acquaintance identified as Na, 45, accepting her request to help her nephew get a job in May.

The prosecution also said it is still investigating high-profile figures' involvement in the scandal.

Earlier, the prosecution summoned five to six high-ranking officials of Kwangju City for questioning, after it obtained a list of about 100 politicians, bureaucrats and other high-profile figures, who are suspected of peddling influence for job applicants.

Of them, 21 are government officials and two are under investigation on suspicion of having received money, the prosecution said.

The Korea Times said the Kia jobs-for-cash scandal erupted last month when the Kwangju plant union chapter head was found to have accepted money from job seekers last year in return for help in being employed there.

As the investigation proceeded, more union staff, brokers and the company officials were revealed to have been involved in the illegal job brokering case, the paper added.